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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Referendum Commission asks broadcasters to give more time to bulletins

Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan wants broadcasters to give more time to information on the children’s referendum.

This Referendum Commission guide is to be sent to every home in the country in the next 10 days.
This Referendum Commission guide is to be sent to every home in the country in the next 10 days.
Image: Referendum Commission

THE HEAD of the Referendum Commission set up to offer independent information on the forthcoming Children’s Rights Referendum has written to the country’s broadcasters asking them to devote more time to the commission’s information bulletins.

Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan’s request comes amid fears that the level of public debate on next month’s vote is lower than it would ordinarily be.

RTÉ News, reporting the request, said the national broadcaster had already agreeing to the request.

The Referendum Commission, first established in 1998, creates impartial informational bulletins in advance of each referendum – replacing the previous ‘Vote Yes’ and ‘Vote No’ party political broadcasts – which are then carried by the main broadcasters for the information of voters.

The commission has also this morning published its independent information guide to the referendum, which is to be circulated to every home in the state in the coming ten days.

The 12-page guide – available here in PDF format – lists the precise wording which the referendum proposes to include in the constitution, and excerpts of other parts of the constitution which would be read in conjunction with the proposed new Article 42A.

“It is your Constitution and you have the power to decide whether or not to change it,” Finlay Geoghegan writes in her introduction.

“This guide does not argue for a yes or no vote but we do strongly encourage you to vote.”

Copies of the guide are also available in large text format, on CD and in Braille through the National Council for the Blind in Ireland. The Irish Deaf Society and DeafHear.ie are to publish online versions in Irish Sign Language. An Irish language version can be downloaded here.

Read: TV3 first to announce televised debate on children’s referendum

More: RTÉ to stay 50-50 for referendum debates – but news coverage ‘cannot be prejudged’

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Gavan Reilly

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