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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020

How would you feel about having a 21-year-old President of Ireland?

A referendum on changing the age of eligibility will be held next year.

President Michael D Higgins, back in the day.
President Michael D Higgins, back in the day.
Image: Photocall Ireland

CABINET HAS DECIDED to go ahead with the drafting of an amendment to the constitution that would allow people to run for President of Ireland from the age of 21 and a referendum on the issue will take place next year.

Currently, a person has to be over 35 to run for the office, though the age of eligibility for election to the Dáil, Seanad and European Parliament is 21.

This proposal was recommended in the first report of the constitutional convention and was accepted by the government at a meeting in July last year. It was agreed at that time that the question would be put to a referendum before the end of 2015.

The next step now is to draw up the relevant Constitution Amendment Bill which will commence following yesterday’s Cabinet decision.

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, said the government also agreed that a referendum commission should be established for this referendum. This will take place once the bill is published and he has provided for a budget of €1.2 million for the work of this commission.

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