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The Dail

Government loses referendum vote on new parliamentary powers of investigation

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The Dail

A referendum designed to give the Irish parliament more powers to investigate matters of public importance has been defeated – by the public.

Just over half the electorate voted in the referendum - on "Houses of the Oireachtas inquiries" - which was held in conjunction with Thursday’s Presidential vote.

The amendment sought to give more power to members of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) to set up inquiries into matters which it deemed to be of public importance.

The amendment, backed by government partners Fine Gael and the Labor Party, was rejected by a majority of more than 116,000 votes.

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A second amendment, on judicial pay, passed easily however.

A statement from the government said: “It is disappointing that the 30th amendment on Oireachtas inquiries has been narrowly defeated.

“The Government accepts the people’s decision and will reflect and carefully consider the vote outcome.”

A total of 1,785,208 people voted on the amendment with 928,175 voting against and 812,008 voting in favour - a majority of 116,167.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has claimed the defeat highlighted the Government’s arrogance and its failure to engage with the public on the subject.

“The rushed nature of the campaign and the dismissive approach of ministers to questions and concerns about the amendment, caused damage to the campaign,” said Fleming.

“Some of the public comments by members of Government were arrogant and inappropriate.”

Almost 80 percent of those who voted on Thursday were in favour of the referendum on Judge’s pay which allows the government to cut judicial pay in line with economic necessity.

A total of 1,785,707 people voted in favour of the amendment, the 29th to the Constitution, with 354,134 voting against.

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