What do Referendums do?
In Ireland, the consent of Irish citizens is needed to make any changes to our Constitution (Bunreacht na hÉireann). This means that amendments to the Constitution can only be made by holding a Constitutional Referendum.
You can read about the previous referendums that have taken place in Ireland to date.
To hold a Constitutional Referendum, a Bill must first be introduced in the Dáil, setting out the wording of the proposed amendment. If both the Dáil and the Seanad pass the Bill, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage makes an order specifying the polling day for the referendum.
All Irish citizens who are on the Register of Electors, the Postal Voters List or the Special Voters List can vote in a referendum.
You can read more information on our voter eligibility page.
Voting in Ireland is done by private ballot. The title of the proposed bill will be printed on the ballot and the voter will mark “Yes” or “No”.
For people who are blind or visually impaired, a tactile ballot paper template is available in each polling station.
If the majority of the votes are in favour of the proposal to amend the Constitution, and no petition challenging the result is presented to the High Court within seven days of its publication, then the President of Ireland signs the Bill and the Constitution is amended.
If the majority of votes are cast against the proposal to amend the Constitution, then there is no change and the Constitution remains as it was before the referendum vote.