Referendum Commission information guide being delivered to every home in the country

Monday 8th October 2018: The Referendum Commission has today launched its public information campaign giving the facts about the referendum on blasphemy, which will take place on the same day as the Presidential election on Friday 26th October.

The campaign will involve a website, www.refcom.ie, which will be the central source of information on the referendum. There is a printed independent guide which is now being distributed to every home across the country. Both will be used to inform people of the detail of the proposed change to the Constitution.

The referendum will decide whether the Constitution should continue to say that publishing or saying something blasphemous is a criminal offence. If the referendum is passed, the Oireachtas will be able to change the law so that blasphemy is no longer a criminal offence. If the referendum is not passed then the Constitution will remain unchanged and therefore continue to require that publishing or saying something blasphemous is a criminal offence.

According to the Chair of the Referendum Commission Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy: “The website and the guide explain the proposal in more detail, and what the effects of a Yes and No vote would be. The Commission does not urge either a Yes or a No vote, but we do urge voters to make up their own minds and to have their say.”

The Commission is the independent body set up to explain the referendum proposal, promote public awareness and encourage people to vote. As well as distributing a guide to 2.2m homes and publishing a website, it is running a substantial advertising campaign on television, radio, in print, on outdoor sites and online to raise awareness of the referendum.

“The subject of this referendum may not have as high a profile in public debate as the subjects of other recent referendums. But the Constitution is the fundamental law of the State and every proposal to change it is important. Our role is not to debate the merits or otherwise of the arguments of either side, but to provide an independent, neutral account of what is being proposed, so that voters can be properly informed,” Said Ms Justice Kennedy.

The Commission’s guide can be read at www.refcom.ie, and it can also be downloaded there. The Referendum Commission also has a dedicated phone line 1890 270 970. The Guide and website will feature text in both English and Irish. The guide will also be available in Braille, Irish Sign Language DVDs, audio CDs, easy-to-read and large print versions in the coming weeks.