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Voters want to scrap Seanad, give diaspora the vote and review Constitution

Ipsos MRBI has polled a number of issues that will be up for discussion at the constitutional convention which gets under way this weekend.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

VOTERS BACK A full review of the Irish Constitution, legalising same-sex marriage, scrapping the Seanad, giving the Irish abroad the vote and reducing presidential terms according to a new poll.

The Ipsos MRBI poll in today’s Irish Times carries voters’ views on many of the issues that will be put before the constitutional convention when it meets for the first time this weekend.

There is broad backing for many of the measures it will discuss with same-sex marriage backed by 53 per cent of those polled with 30 per cent saying they would vote No in any referendum that would have to be held to provide for the measure.

Seventeen per cent have no opinion of the measure that is strongly backed by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

In a boost for the government, most voters back abolition of the Seanad, 55 per cent to 22 per cent with 23 per cent having no opinion.

There is strong backing for giving Irish citizens who live abroad the right to vote in presidential elections with 68 per cent saying Yes to 17 per cent saying no, the remainder having no opinion.

Staying with the presidency, there is also backing for reducing the term of the office holder from seven years to five years.

Constitutional convention

The reference to the woman’s life within the home being removed from the Constitution has the backing of 41 per cent of those polled with 19 per cent saying it should not be removed, but a sizeable 40 per cent having no opinion.

The poll, which was conducted to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Ipsos MRBI, also finds that 42 per cent of people back a measure where referenda would be called if a petition received 10,000 signatures.

Thirty-two per cent say No to the idea while 26 per cent say they don’t know.

On the Constitution on whole 60 per cent of voters want the entire document reviewed rather than making incremental changes, as is current proposed, which has 36 per cent support.

The constitutional convention meets for the first time this weekend and is made up of 100 people, 66 of whom are members of the public chosen as a representative sample of the Irish public.

Thirty-three politicians on both sides of the border will also take part with the whole convention being chaired by Tom Arnold, the head of the charity Concern Worldwide.

The group will meet on eight weekends over the next years.

At last: Constitutional Convention to hold first meeting in December

Read: Sinn Féin and Greens call for lowering of voting age

Read: Tánaiste calls for referendum on same-sex marriage

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