The Citizens' Assembly is meeting this weekend in Malahide, Co Dublin, to consider the manner in which referendums are held in Ireland.

Opening the discussions this morning, chairperson of the Assembly Ms Mary Laffoy told the members that the holding of referendums is a fundamental part of democracy and the only way the constitution can be changed.

Matters discussed today included extending voting over two days, establishing a Referendum Commission on a permanent basis, public funding for referendum campaigns and how to improve voter turnout.

Over 200 submissions were received in advance of today’s discussion, all of which have been published.

Members will resume discussions tomorrow morning when they will finalise and agree proposals on which they will vote in the afternoon.

Proposals that are accepted will then be passed on to the Oireachtas for further consideration.

The discussions are taking place against the background of an expected referendum on the Eighth Amendment later this year.