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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Presidential Candidate Age Referendum

Im a yes voter, for equality on this position, its that simple, possible pension costs can be limited and are not a reason to vote no, disappointment with the choice of referendums is not a reason to vote no, not wanting a young president is not a reason to prevent others from making that choice.

Referendum Choice

Only two proposals for constitution referendums Jan 26, 2015 Irish Times Harry McGee

Only two of 18 recommendations for constitutional change made by the Convention on the Constitution are to be put to referendum.

Who chose the second referendum, the Taoiseach did, not the convention. Kenny did not want another controversial referendum along side the Marriage Equality Referendum, Fine Gael promised in its manifesto (pg 62) a constitution day where maybe even 3 or 4 referendums would be held on the same day, you could have had mutiple referendums on presidentials issues on the same day. This would have reduced the criticism of this amendment. The Labour manifesto promised a rewritten constitution. They see political reform as luxury, compared to fixing the economy, they didn't spend department man hours on it sooner, they promsied a constitution day,so picked one with little associated work. The Marriage Euqality referendum was also discussed and recommended at the Constitutional Convention but it would have happened anyway.

Referendum Media


Constitutional Convention

How did the issue of president age come up, who sets the questions for the ballot, who has the final say? Tom Arnold, convention chair or the advisors? The First Report of the Convention on the Constitution

It wasn't part of original terms of reference. at bottom of report.

4.Reducing the Presidential term of office to five years and aligning it with the local and European elections.

4.2 Convention discussion on the reduction and alignment of the Presidential Term

Other themes that were raised included; whether to reduce the age of candidacy.

Candidate Minimum Age Requirements at Elections in the Republic of Ireland page 21

The first convention report on presidential term length and voting age includes questions on presidential candidate age. page 7
Reduce the age of candidacy for presidential elections 50 yes 47 no 3 don't know
Other themes that were raised included
and like in the previous session, whether to reduce the age of candidacy

Was it discussed in video's on expert advice? Constitutional Convention Video Archive

Discussed in Emerging Themes Video starting at 19 minutes.

Its seems it came from the table Derek Keating TD was on (he mentioned it in his submission) and from the table Ivana Bacik was on and (Labour's legal advisor Cllr Richard Chambers mentioned it in his submission) and from table 6 (I can't see which politicians were on that table) but generally its seemed to come from a question of having a maximun age for presidency which came from two tables, considering the age of our current president and whether he'd want or feel obliged to do two terms.
at 8 minutes.
Tom Arnold says 'these [questions] are our best effort ot reflect the the discussion'.
The ballot is discussed by the room and it seems the advisors write the ballots after the presentations and after talking with the convention members.
Previous Constitutional Reviews

The Report of the Constitution Review Group (May 1996)
The majority of members favours no change, or only a minor
reduction, in the age limit

commented as follows on this section:
There is an apparent discrepancy between the English
and Irish versions. The Irish version has ‘ag a bhfuil
cúig bliana tríochad slán’ (that is, has completed thirty-
five years), whereas the English version is ‘who has
reached his thirty-fifth year of age’, which could mean
has entered rather than completed that year.
This discrepancy should be removed by substituting the word
‘completed’ for ‘reached’ in the English version.


The First Progress Report of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (April 1997) Recommendation reduce to 18.
following this,
recommends (on p. 89) substituting the word ‘completed’
for ‘reached’ in the English text. The Twentieth Amendment
of the Constitution Bill, 1999, which proposed to lower
the age-limit for candidates for the Presidency, dealt with
the noted inconsistency by proposing to substitute ‘the
age of eighteen years’ for ‘his thirty-fifth year of age’ – i.e.
rather than substituting ‘his eighteenth year of age’

Eamon Gilmore introduced a private members bill to reduce the age of candidacy for Irish President Dail in 1999
Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1999 [PMB]
Catherine Murphy introduced private member bill to reduce age of candidacy for president among other measures in 2011. Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (The President) Bill 2011 Seem to be no mention of age from the government rep during the debate.

Gender Neutral
The amendment proposes to mark the sub-article gender neutral.

Every citizen who has reached his thirty-fifth year of age is eligible for election to the office of President.
Every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.

English Irish discrepancy

There is a issue in the contradiction between the English version saying the candidate needs to be 35 and the Irish version saying the candidate needs to be 34, the Irish version of law takes precedence.
Richard Humphreys Labour's Councillors and legal advisor mentioned it, Richard Humphreys Submission. 21/01/2013,

5. If the voting age is reduced, I would strongly urge the Convention to recommend that as a consequential measure, the age for eligibility to be a member of the Dail be reduced to 18. Nor can I see any logical reason why one is not a “full citizen” in the sense of being eligible to be President, until age 35. The onerous requirements regarding nomination of the President are a sufficient guarantee of the capacity of the candidate. Insofar as there is a distinction between the precise terms of the English and Irish text as to the age of the President, this should also be addressed. Any reduction in the age of parliamentarians or local authority members below 18 would be more problematic given that it could be said that there is a need for the parliamentarian or indeed member of a local authority to be of full legal capacity.

6. I would therefore suggest that the age to be a TD or President be reduced to 18 and the age to vote in Dail elections be reduced to 16.

Derek Keating TD raised it in his submission research by Seery Kearney, Mary, Parliamentary Assistant
Derek Keating TD Submission to Constitution convention 23/01/2013,
Eligibility to become President of Ireland and the election of the President

To be eligible as a candidate for the Presidency, the candidate must be an Irish citizen of 35 years or more.1 There is a conflict between the English and Irish texts of the Constitution with regard to the eligibility age, the English text states that the candidate must be at least 35 years, and the Irish text states that the candidate must have completed his/her 35th year, meaning they must be 36 years of age. Article 25.5.4 provides that the Irish text prevails in an interpretation of the constitution; therefore, the age is 36 years. While this has, thus far, never arisen as an issue, it is a matter which requires amendment at the opportune time.

Bunreacht na hEireann - Study of the Irish Text
pg 139
Divergences between the official texts
1 While the English text requires a Presidential candidate
to have ‘reached his thirty-fifth year of age’, which it
has been noted the candidate would do on his thirty-
fourth birthday, the Irish text requires him to have
completed thirty five years.

Did convention experts mention it in their speeches or reports?
Plenary Meeting 26/27 January - Voting Age/ Presidential Term

Cost

Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said having two referendums at the same time would cost 13% more.
Referendum Expenditure 11 February 2015

Returning Officer Costs for taking the poll and counting of votes€10.2m
Postal Costs (primarily delivery of Polling Cards)€1.4m
Referendum Commission Costs€2.4m
Other Costs (including printing)€0.4m

If we compare cost for singualar Ref in 2012 and then two Ref on the same day in 2013.
Consultation Paper on the Establishment of an Electoral Commission in Ireland table 9 page 29
Expenses / Children-2012 / Seanad Abolition and Court of Appeal-2013
Total / €11,135,735 / €11,893,174

plus around 2 million referendum commission costs page table 7, 27

7% difference?

cost for 2 is ~€13m

Bill

21st January 2015 Minister Kelly announces Government Agreement on the Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015 Minister Kelly announces Government Agreement on the Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015

22/01/2015 Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015
25/03/2015 Statement for Information of Voters: Motion
25/03/2015 Second Stage Charlie McConague: it was the unfufilled grand promise of a Constitution day thats upsetting people more so then that this topic was chosen
25/03/2015 Second Stage (Resumed) olivia mitchell says, regarding age, the difference between president and td is that no single td can make such great changes on his own, while the president can...
25/03/2015 Committee and Remaining Stages AAA/SP proposed amendments for 18 to be age,for 5k signatures for nomination, alter oath, remove god, alter voter restriction
31/03/2015 Second Stage all ruled out of order apart from age 18 that was voted down
01/04/2015 Committee and Remaining Stages

Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015

The Schedule of the Bill — Part 1 provides for the amendment of the Irish text of Article 12.4.1° of the Constitution to provide that every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible
for election to the office of President.

The Schedule of the Bill — Part 2 provides for the amendment of the English text of Article 12.4.1° of the Constitution to provide that every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President. The English text is based on the text of Article 16.1.1° of the Constitution, which provides that every citizen ‘who has reached the age of twenty-one years. . .’ is eligible for membership of Dáil Éireann. The approach taken in the Constitution Amendment Bill addresses a potential conflict between the Irish and English text of Article 12.4.1° as it currently stands — while the Irish text requires a presidential candidate to have completed thirty-five years of age, the English text requires the candidate only to have ‘reached his [or her] thirty-fifth year of age’, which one would do on one’s thirty-fourth birthday. Both the Irish and English texts of the Bill are aligned and provide that every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.

Statement for Information of Voters: Motion
This is what appears on the back of the voting card.

The only real arguement the gov gives.

2015-03-25 Ann Phelan Minister of State with responsibility for rural economic development and rural transport at the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Transport, Tourism and Sport. (Carlow-Kilkenny, Labour)
I am satisfied that the Government's approach in linking the age of eligibility requirement to that which applies to the case of the Dáil and the European Parliament, is the logical and, therefore, the appropriate approach.

Paudie Coffey Government Chief Whip (Waterford, Fine Gael) 2015-03-31
I have also noted commentary in the media and elsewhere that the referendum proposal in the Bill is, in some way, not as significant as some of the other proposals for constitutional reform that have emerged from the Constitutional Convention. I do not accept that view. Article 12 of the Constitution provides that the President shall "take precedence over all the other persons in the State" and "shall exercise and perform the powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution and by law". Given this position in the Constitution, the proposal to reduce the age at which a citizen is eligible for election to the Of

Referendum Commision
Presidential Age
13/04/2015 13:00:00 Judge Kevin Cross, Head of the Referendum Commission, on the launch of their awareness campaign for the upcoming referenda
referendum-commission RTE news
RefCom leaflet is very brief.

The Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum
In this referendum, you may vote
Yes or No to the proposal to reduce the age at which candidates are eligible for election to the office of President from 35 to 21.
The proposal is contained in the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015


The current Article 12.4.1° of the Constitution states:
Every citizen who has reached his thirty-fifth year of age is eligible for election to the office of President.
It is proposed to replace this with:
Every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.

Cost of Pension
Baby presidents would get 125k a year for life Sunday Independent.

Interesting point but the government can simply limit the pension to to retirement age. Perhaps parties could make that point.

Government already reduced the president's pay by 23% under financial emergency measures in the public interest amendment bill 2011 minister-brendan-howlin-second-stage-speech
Financial emergency measures in the public interest amendment Act 2011

Political Reform

How many no voters were there for #presref in Labour that they chose not to take a position?
I know the Labour Pary doesn't enforce party line on referendums but doesn't lack of active effort by TDs not undermine political reform.
I know referendums are different and theres no whip,but Labour cabinet members proposed it you think TDs would make an effort one way or the other.
Labour will not take position on presidential age referendum15/04/2015 Irish Times Mary Minihan

No Campaigns

Mike McKillen/Dick Spicer CITIZENS SEPARATE CHURCH AND STATE
Olivia Mitchell FG TD
Gerard Howlin Columnist Irish Examiner professional contrarian
Colum Kenny Columnist Irish Independent,DCU media Prof professional contrarian
Ian Robertson Prof of Psychology TCD,
Maeve Dineen Columnist & comms specialist
Professor Ian Robertson TCD: 21 year olds don't have the neural connections to be President Debate on Marian Finuncane Radio Show .mp3 at 4 min

A number of No campaigners are professional contrarians with Column Kenny not arguing on the issue.

No: Why we should vote against lowering the age of candidates eligible to become President
Referendum on president mocks real needs of young

First radio debate on this referendum Olivia Mitchell FG No vs Brian Stanly SF yes
Newstalk Breakfast 17th_April_2015

Olivia Mitchell said not calling for a no vote, won't be voting yes, say you act alone as president, not so with Taoiseach who needs TDs votes. As she did during the Dail debate.

Yes Campaign
Mairead Healy Future Voices
Law Society
Youthwork Ireland Michael McLaughlin
USILaura Harmon
Fine Gael Michael Noonan, Leo?
"It's peculiar that you can be President if you are 35 and you can't if you're 34, that would have excluded people like Michael Collins and The Lord himself.
Presidential Age limits would have excluded Michael Collins from the Aras, says Noonan Independent 05/05/2015
Alan Kelly said he would publically advocate for a yes if he was raised with him while canvassing on the Marriage Equality referendum.

Growing criticism over the lack of debate on the age of presidential candidates referendum. RTE News 5th May 2015


Labour are taking no position, but referendums are different and strict enforcement of party line is not always applied. Joanna Tuffy TD is a no

Popstars are popstars not politician no need to mention them.

Constitution


25/05/1937 Draft of the 13th Article of the constitution Bunreacht na hEireann (Dréacht)—Coiste (ath-thogaint).

Links
Constitution of Ireland Wikpedia.

List of presidential qualifications by country

Age of candidacy

Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Age of Eligibility for Election_to_the_Office of President Bill 2015

...
not voting for 21 year old president