Referenda confirmed for May

Referendum The Government will hold two referenda on Friday 22 May – one on same-sex civil marriage and the other on the reduction of the minimum age of presidential candidates.

Discussing the marriage referendum on RTÉ’s Prime Time, Enda Kenny remarked: “A Yes vote would send out a powerful signal internationally that Ireland has evolved into a fair, compassionate and tolerant nation.” The coalition’s proposal is also supported by both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.

The Catholic Church has issued its objections by way of a pastoral statement, entitled The Meaning of Marriage. Bishop Kevin Doran emphasised: “The pastoral statement makes it clear that [same-sex marriage] would be a contradiction in terms, because marriage is, of its nature, a committed relationship between a man and a woman which is open to the transmission of life.”

On the election of under-35s to the office of President, UCD academic Diarmaid Ferriter has stated: “We should be wary of heading towards a situation where it is politically or culturally unacceptable to maintain that a presidency would be better served by someone with a fair degree of the experience and wisdom that comes with age.”

Meanwhile, UCC lecturer Theresa Reidy contends that lowering the age threshold would produce a broader reflection of society. Reidy maintains: “There is no scientific evidence to suggest someone is more emotionally mature at 35 than 30, and no guarantee that as people age, they will earn more life, or political experience.”

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