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Fine Gael: 'Yes' ... Labour: 'We're not taking a position'

A referendum to reduce the minimum age of a presidential candidate from 35 to 21 is also being held next month.

Joan Burton and Enda Kenny
Joan Burton and Enda Kenny
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 2.30pm

THE LABOUR PARTY is not taking a position on the presidential age referendum in contrast to its coalition partner Fine Gael, which is encouraging a Yes vote.

Labour has said it will concentrate all its campaigning “firepower” on the same-sex marriage referendum on 22 May.

It will not adopt a position on the proposal to reduce the minimum age at which a citizen can stand for the presidency from 35 to 21, which is also being put to the people on the same day.

“We are not taking a position on the presidential age referendum. As a party we’re concentrating our campaigning firepower on making sure the marriage equality referendum is passed,” a spokesperson said.

By contrast, a Fine Gael spokesperson has said the party will be supporting a Yes vote.

A spokesperson for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said last night that in putting forward the matter to a vote of the people the “clear implication” is that the government supports passage of the referendum.

But a spokesperson for Tánaiste Joan Burton said they did not expect Labour to take a formal position on the referendum.

The proposal to reduce the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 21 has come on foot of a recommendation from the Constitutional Convention last year.

However, the latest polls indicate that most people intend to vote No on 22 May. The government has also been criticised for holding a vote on what few people believe is a pressing matter.

Among the opposition parties, Sinn Féin is encouraging a Yes vote. Fianna Fáil indicated during the Dáil debate on the bill that it would also be supporting it.

Read: What is the point of the upcoming referendum? (No, not the one you’re thinking of)

Read: The people in charge of the referendum are confident this ballot paper won’t confuse you

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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