People to decide on changes to the constitution to lower the voting age and remove the "special position" reference to the Catholic Church.

The referendums will decide on changes to the constitution. The fourth amendment proposes the changing of the voting age. The fifth amendment would remove the reference to "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church and to certain other named denominations in the constitution.

The Irish electorate go to the polls to decide on lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 for all national elections and referendums.

President Éamon de Valera was one of the first to vote at the Phoenix Park National School. Accompanied by his aide-de-camp Colonel Sean Brennan the photographers were there to capture the architect of the Irish constitution cast his vote.

Taoiseach Jack Lynch also cast his vote early in the day at the national school in Rathgar. He had stressed the importance of the referendum and had encouraged voters to turn out to vote in favour of the amendments.

The proposals set forth in the referendum were also supported by opposition parties. Fine Gael leader Liam Cosgrave voted at Ballyroan National School in Rathfarnham. Labour Party leader Brendan Corish voted in Wexford.

A lower voting age would mean about 140,000 new voters on the register next April.

Desmond Bradbury who headed the campaign against changing Article 44 paraded outside a polling station in Dalkey with a placard and was given a warning by Gardaí that his actions could be interpreted as picketing. Mr Bradbury was taken to Dalkey barracks but was released soon after.

Nuns and priests were also out in force to cast their votes.

Both amendments were passed with 84.64 per cent and 84.38 percent respectively voting in favour of the amendments.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 December 1972. The reporter is Tom McCaughren.