Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell has said it is positive that the costs of holding referenda have been reduced since 2008 in response to information obtained from a parliamentary question he submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
“The costs of holding referenda have been reduced since June 2008 when the first Lisbon Treaty referendum cost €22.2 million The Children’s referendum, which was the last stand-alone referendum, had associated costs of €12.8 million.
“14 referenda have been held since June 2008 with the approximate costings of 11 of those totalling €118.6 million. As the Citizenship referendum in June 2004 and the Houses of the Oireachtas Enquiries and Judges Remuneration referenda in October 2011 were held in conjunction with other elections, namely the European and Local elections in 2004 and a Presidential and bye-election in 2011, it was not possible for the costs of the referenda alone to be isolated.
“In May, two referenda will be held, one on Marriage Equality and another on the Qualifying Age for the Presidency. It is estimated that it will cost roughly €15 million to hold these two referenda. These costs will include providing for the necessary staff, facilities and materials for both the polling stations and the count centres in addition to the distribution of explanatory information from the independent Referendum Commission to each member of the electorate.
“While the costs associated with holding referenda are substantial, it is certainly positive that they have been reduced significantly since 2008. As we set our sights on the upcoming ballots in May, I look forward to actively engaging with the debates on both issues.”