Constitutional Convention discusses reducing presidential term

Monday 28 January 2013 15.53
The presidential term of office could be reduced to five years
The presidential term of office could be reduced to five years

The first working meeting of the Constitutional Convention has taken place, with discussions on proposals to lower the voting age and to reduce the presidential term of office to five years.

The convention opened with condolences to the family of Garda Adrian Donohoe, followed by a minute's silence.

Chairman Tom Arnold said the convention will be run on "first-name terms" and all titles, including Minister, Deputy, Senator, Mr and Mrs, will be left at the door.

The 100-member panel is made up of 66 citizens, chosen randomly from the Electoral Register, 33 politicians, including four from the Northern Ireland Assembly, and Mr Arnold.

Dr Theresa Reidy of UCC provided information to the delegates to inform them on issues surrounding the lowering of the voting age to 17.

Members then heard from representatives from the National Youth Council of Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Care Workers, as they put forward their views and offered arguments on both sides of the debate.

After round-table discussions, the afternoon session focused on the reduction of the presidential term of office from seven years to five years.

Both private and plenary sessions are taking place throughout the weekend.

Voting will then take place and results are due to be announced afterwards.

The Government is committed to an Oireachtas debate on the recommendations within four months and to set a date for a referendum if it agrees with the recommendation.