At stake in this Referendum:
- A referendum to approve two constitutional amendments regarding judicial salaries pay cuts and providing additional powers to Oireachtas committees.
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President Mary MCALEESE
- Head of Government: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda KENNY
- Assembly: Ireland has a bicameral Parliament (Oireachtas) consisting of the Senate (Seanad Éireann) with 60 seats and the House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann) with 166 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- The President is elected by a majority system with preferential vote to serve a 7-year term. *
- The Prime Minister (Taoiseach) is appointed by the President.
- In the Senate (Seanad Éireann), 43 members are elected by indirect vote to serve 5-year terms, 11 members are appointed by the President to serve 5-year terms and 6 members are elected by indirect vote to serve 5-year terms*. In the House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann) 166 members are elected through a single transferable vote (STV) proportional representation system to serve 5-year terms.**
* The presidential term is renewable once. The electoral system is alternative vote. The President is a member of Parliament ex officio.
* 43 members are elected by five panels representing vocational interests. Six are elected by graduates of two colleges.
** One seat is reserved for the Speaker of the House. There are 43 multi-member districts with magnitudes from 3 to 5.
Main provisions in the Referendum:
- The Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution (Judges’ Remuneration) Bill 2011 At present, Article 35.5 of the Constitution states: “The remuneration of a judge shall not be reduced during his continuance in office.” It is proposed to replace this with the following wording: 5 1° The remuneration of judges shall not be reduced during their continuance in office save in accordance with this section. 2° The remuneration of judges is subject to the imposition of taxes, levies or other charges that are imposed by law on persons generally or persons belonging to a particular class. 3° Where, before or after the enactment of this section, reductions have been or are made by law to the remuneration of persons belonging to classes of persons whose remuneration is paid out of public money and such law states that those reductions are in the public interest, provision may also be made by law to make proportionate reductions to the remuneration of judges.
- The Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries) Bill 2011 At present, Article 15.10 states: “Each House shall make its own rules and standing orders, with power to attach penalties for their infringement, and shall have power to ensure freedom of debate, to protect its official documents and the private papers of its members, and to protect itself and its members against any person or persons interfering with, molesting or attempting to corrupt its members in the exercise of their duties.” It is proposed to renumber this as 15.10.1° and to insert the following subsections: 2° Each House shall have the power to conduct an inquiry, or an inquiry with the other House, in a manner provided for by law, into any matter stated by the House or Houses concerned to be of general public importance. 3° In the course of any such inquiry the conduct of any person (whether or not a member of either House) may be investigated and the House or Houses concerned may make findings in respect of the conduct of that person concerning the matter to which the inquiry relates. 4° It shall be for the House or Houses concerned to determine, with due regard to the principles of fair procedures, the appropriate balance between the rights of persons and the public interest for the purposes of ensuring an effective inquiry into any matter to which subsection 2° applies.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 4,576,794 (2011)
- Registered Voters: 3,209,177 (February 2011)
· Female Population: 2,295,988 (2011)
· Is Ireland a signatory to CEDAW: No
· Has Ireland ratified CEDAW: Yes, accession (23 December 1985)
· Gender Quota: Yes
· Female candidates in this election: N/A
· Number of Female Parliamentarians: 25 (House of Representatives); 18 (Senate) (following the 2011 elections)
· Human Development Index Position: 6 (2014)
· Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: N/A
· Is Ireland a signatory to CRPD: Yes (30 March 2007)
· Has Ireland ratified CRPD: No
· Population with a disability: 686,519 (est.)