The Children's Referendum

The Children's Referendum

IT Sat, Nov 10

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  • 09:24
    Welcome to our coverage of today's children's referendum count.

    Counting got under way at 9.00am, with the result expected at around lunchtime.

    Government sources told us last night turnout was a mere 32 per cent, one of the lowest for a referendum in the history of the State.

    The record low turnout was in June 1979 when just 28.6 per cent voted in the referendums to change the adoption laws and the franchise for the Seanad university seats. The turnout in the fiscal treaty referendum last May was 50 per cent.
  • 09:25
    Here's a gallery from voting around the country yesterday:
  • 09:35
    President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne cast their votes in St Mary's hospital in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photograph: Julian Behal/PA Wire
    President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne cast their votes in St Mary's hospital in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photograph: Julian Behal/PA Wire
  • 09:40
    Asked in Killarney last night about the low turnout in the referendum, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said in some countries it was compulsory to vote. However, this was a democracy, and people couldn’t be forced to vote, he said, adding that holding a referendum on a Saturday made little difference.
  • 09:42
    Ballot boxes for the six constituencies in Dublin County have been opened and the sorting of votes is under way.

    RTE are reporting that boxes in Dublin West are showing a very narrow gap.
  • 09:45
    Some early tweets:


    As we await the result we want to thank you all for coming out to vote yesterday #chref12

    @JamesDoorley Another box in Ratoath showing 56% Yes & 44% No #crref #chref #thisweekrte #mhe

    @colmtobin Just voted for the young fella from Moone Boy in the children's referendum. Hope he gets in. #ccref

    Aodhan O’Riordain TD tweets: Full box tally in Artane #dubnc 55% 'Yes'. This will be carried nationwide... but not by the margin we had hoped for...#crref
  • 09:49
    Here’s a quick reminder of who stands where on the referendum
  • 09:52
    In addition to the Saturday polling, the low turnout may be attributed to a campaign that failed to capture the public imagination and confusion over the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that found the Government’s information booklet and website was “not fair, equal or impartial”.
  • 09:56
    The McKenna judgment explained
  • 09:58
    ‏@JustinTodayFM At citywest count centre: surprisingly strong No vote in some working class constituencies but YES side appear ahead. #ccref
  • 10:02
    Early indications showing that the referendum will be passed but by a much narrower margin than expected
  • 10:03
    There is also a strong No vote in Donegal
  • 10:06
    A woman casts her vote in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Julian Behal/PA Wire
    A woman casts her vote in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Julian Behal/PA Wire
  • 10:11

    Kinsealy 106 Yes 53 No Malahide 119 Yes 87 No Balrothery 132 Yes 79 No

  • 10:15
    RTE reporting that the No vote is running higher than expected in Galway. Leaning towards the No vote in some Roscommon boxes
  • 10:23
    Journalist John Waters says the "dinner-party circuit" has voted Yes and criticises the Government's illegal information campaign
  • 10:25
    Minister of State Alex White says the Government will have to think about Saturday voting. He thinks it's a good idea but people are not used to it. He said he does not believe it is the cause of the low turnout however.
  • 10:27

    Lets have future Referendum Commission set out clear analysis of both Yes & No side claims. Make clear statement as to truth of both

  • 10:41
    All the boxes have been opened in Dublin North East, with RTE reporting that the tallies show Yes at 56% and No at 44%. The Yes camp is also ahead in Dublin Central, with 60% in favour and 40% against after half of the boxes were tallied.
  • 10:44

    No campaigner Kathy Sinnott says the real losers are the children of Ireland and their parents "who have now lost their right to protect them". She says she is worried for democracy because the State has lied and cheated and got away with it. The referendum is contaminated in her view.

  • 10:46
    Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald says it is a historic day for the protection of children in Ireland.
  • 10:55
    On the subject of the low turnout, Ms Fitzgerald said she would have preferred if it had been higher but expressed delight that the referendum is likely to be passed
  • 11:02
    There are reports on Twitter that one ballot paper in Cavan was defaced with slogan "We just want justice for Seán Quinn"

    one ballot paper in Cavan defaced with slogan "We want justice for Sean Quinn"

  • 11:09
    In some of the boxes in Co Roscommon ballot papers were also spoiled with a “Free Seán Quinn” slogan
  • 11:11
    RTE reporting that in the Taoiseach’s constituency of Mayo, which had one of the highest Yes votes in the Fiscal Treaty referendum at 67%, it is looking like Yes will be carried by 54% to 46%.
  • 11:26
    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter says he is delighted that the referendum will be passed and calls it a day to celebrate.
  • 11:34
    Former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness, who campaigned for a Yes vote, says the Supreme Court decision on the Government's information campaign should be taken on board and that the whole system of running referenda should be looked at
  • 11:36
    Donegal South West has rejected the referendum – No 56.47% Yes 43.53%. Turnout was 24%.
  • 11:46
    Tipperary South has passed the referendum - Yes 54.17% No 45.83%. Turnout was 35%
  • 11:51
    Galway East has also passed the referendum, by a larger majority. Yes 59.02% No 40.98%. Turnout was 29.6%
  • 12:04
    Limerick City has passed the referendum by a large majority. Yes 60.99% No 39.01%. Turnout was 31.26%
  • 12:12
    Limerick has passed the referendum by a slightly smaller majority than Limerick city. Yes: 59.01% No 40.99%. Turnout was 30.29%
  • 12:17
    Counting underway at the Dublin City Count, at The Show Centre, in Swords, Co Dublin.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
    Counting underway at the Dublin City Count, at The Show Centre, in Swords, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
  • 12:21
    Cork North Central narrowly passes the referendum. Yes: 50.09% No 49.01%. Turnout 33.41%. This is the first official result from Cork area.
  • 12:26
    Tipperary North passes the referendum. Yes: 55.75%. No: 44.25%. Turnout 37.22%. Margins similar to Tipperary South which voted Yes earlier.
  • 12:29

    Cork South Central passes the referendum Yes: 59.52% No 40.48%. Turnout: 36.23%

  • 12:32

    Both Donegal constituencies vote no as Donegal North East rejects the referendum even more strongly than Donegal South-West. Donegal North East: Yes: 40.34%. No : 59.66%. Turnout: 24.47%.

  • 12:34
    Longford-Westmeath passes the referendum Yes: 54.88%. No: 45.12%. Turnout 30.56%.
  • 12:35
    Sligo-North Leitrim passes the referendum Yes: 56.25%. No: 43.75%. Turnout 31.36%.
  • 12:39
    Overall picture after a flurry of results, with 11 constituencies in: Yes: 54.88% No: 45.12%
  • 12:42
    Waterford passes the referendum, Yes 55.95% No 44.05%. Turnout: 35.06%.
  • 12:44
    Commuter belt constituency Kildare North gives the strongest Yes vote so far.  Yes: 66.27% No 33.73%. Turnout: 35.04%
  • 12:50
    Kerry South passes the referendum.  Yes: 57.06% No 42.94%. With 29.45% turnout.
  • 12:52
    Carlow Kilkenny also passes the referendum. Yes 59.18%. No 40.82%. Turnout 34.02%
  • 12:55
    Another midlands result  is in as Laois-Offaly votes for the referendum. Yes: 53.66%. No 46.34%. Turnout 32%.
  • 12:57
    Clare gives the second-highest vote in favour of the referendum so far. Official results show Yes: 61.71% and No 38.29%. Turnout 32.3%.
  • 13:01
    Another constituency passes the referendum Kerry North-West Limerick. Yes 53.65%. No 46.35%. Turnout: 29.23%. Three other Kerry and Limerick constituencies passed the referendum by larger margins.
  • 13:05
    Wicklow passes the referendum. Yes: 59.99%. No 40.01%. Turnout 39.67%.
  • 13:07
    Another Leinster constituency declares in favour of the amendment. Wexford: Yes: 54.83% No 45.17%. Turnout: 33.09%
  • 13:13
    Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore “disappointed” with the turnout. He said Saturday vote is something the Government “may have to look at” and may reflect that voting may be better in line with people’s working pattern. He says referendum “never took fire in terms of debate” and may have resulted in people feeling it was a “foregone conclusion” .
  • 13:16
    Roscommon South Leitrim passes the amendment. Yes: 52.92% No 47.08%. Turnout 33.81%.
  • 13:18
    A second Galway constituency, Galway West, passes the amendment. Yes 62.2% No 37.8%. Turnout 27.96%.
  • 13:20
    First results from the capital as two Dublin constituencies pass the amendment. Dublin Mid-West Yes: 55.21% No: 44.79%. Turnout: 35.27% and Dublin South Central: Yes: 54.89%. No: 45.11%. Turnout 34.61%.
  • 13:23
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s constituency passes the referendum. Mayo: Yes 53.01%. No: 46.99%. Turnout: 32.11%.
  • 13:26
    Second Kildare constituency passes the amendment.  Kildare South Yes: 57.79%, No 42.21%. Turnout 33.4%. Result not as strong as Kildare North which so far has the highest Yes vote in the State at 66.27%.
  • 13:31

    Another Dublin Yes vote: Dublin Central Yes: 58.65%. No 41.35%. Turnout 32.42%.

  • 13:32

     Overall picture so far: Yes : 56.44% No : 43.56%

  • 13:36
    Dublin North-West is the third constituency in the State to vote no. Yes 49.61%. No: 50.39%. Turnout 36.08%.
  • 13:39
    Strong Yes vote in Dublin North-Central. Yes: 63.31%. No 36.69%. This has the highest turnout in the State so far at  42.03%.
  • 13:44
    More Dublin Yes votes: Dublin South West narrowly passes amendment: 51.93% No 48.07%. Turnout 35.93%. : Dublin South Central: Yes 54.89%. No 45.11% Turnout: 34.61%.
  • 13:47
    Strongest Yes vote so far comes from Dublin South. Yes 73.03% and No : 26.97%. Turnout: 40.92%.
  • 13:50
    Two more Dublin constituencies strongly vote for the amendment. Dublin North-East: Yes: 60.1%. No 39.9%. Turnout: 38.86%. Dublin North: Yes: 64.83%. No: 35.17%. Turnout: 35.59%.
  • 13:54
    Two more Cork constituencies are in: Cork South-West: Yes: 56.58%. No: 43.42%. Turnout: 35.07%. Cork East: Yes: 56.11%. No: 43.89%. Turnout: 33.72%.
  • 13:57
    Dun Laoghaire strongly votes for the referendum. Yes: 71.57%. No: 28.43%. Turnout: 41.54%. It’s the third strongest Yes vote behind Dublin South and Dublin South East.
  • 13:59
    Dublin South East has the second strongest vote in favour of the amendment. Yes: 71.87% No: 28.13%. Turnout: 33.44%
  • 14:00
    The last Dublin constituency vote as Dublin West votes for the amendment. Yes: 60.84%. No 39.16%. Turnout 35.46%. Just one Dublin constituency voted No in the referendum.
  • 14:07
    The referendum has been carried as just announced at Dublin Castle:
    Yes votes: 615,731. No votes: 445,863, with Yes: 58%  and No: 42%.
  • 14:13
    Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is “delighted” at the “historic decision” by the people to put “the children of Ireland at the centre of the constitution”.  On Saturday voting she said “the jury is out” but it may be harder for people to fit voting in on a Saturday. “We thought it would be more family friendly but we’ll have to consider that now” .
  • 14:15
    Catching up on the flurry of vote results:  Longford Westmeath Yes: 54.88%. No: 45.12%. Turnout: 30.56% Louth: Yes: 53.09%. No: 46.91% Turnout: 32.45% Meath East: Yes: 59.8% No: 40.2%. Turnout 32.49%, Cork North West: Yes: 57.44% No: 42.56%. Turnout: 35.11%.
  • 14:19
    Last constituency results: Cavan Monaghan: Yes: 53.86%. No: 46.14%. Turnout: 27.53%, Longford Westmeath: Yes: 54.88%. No: 45.12%. Turnout: 30.56%., Meath West: Yes: 53.26%. No: 46.74%. Turnout: 31.41%.
  • 14:27
    Overall turnout was 33.49% but this was not the lowest ever (which was 28.6% for 1979 adoption and university representation at Seanad referenda). The lowest constituency turnout was Donegal South West 23.81% Donegal North East : 24.47% . Seven constituencies had turnout below 30%. Highest turnout was in Dublin North Central: 42.03% followed by Dun Laoghaire: 41.54% and Dublin South 40.92% which were the only three constituencies with turnout above 40%.
  • 14:31

    Children’s Rights Allliance welcomes the passing of the 31st amendment to the constitution.  “It is an historic day that will provide the Irish State with the legal foundation to provide better supports for vulnerable children and their families,”chief executive Tanya Ward said.

  • 14:33
    Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore says that “as a direct result of today’s result, child protection in this country will be strengthened.”. The passing of the referendum “along with a number of other measures which the Government is taking, will ensure the safety and welfare of children at risk is a ongoing priority.”
  • 14:40
    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald following the passing of the amendment at the count centre, Dublin Castle. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.
    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald following the passing of the amendment at the count centre, Dublin Castle. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.
  • 14:45
    Government rapporteur on child protection Geoffrey Shannon says he will “always remember this day, truly historic”.
  • 14:46
    Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar says it is a day to celebrate. He was disappointed with the low turnout and thought there would be a higher margin.
  • 14:48
    Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald describes the vote as a strong endorsement. Says tried to follow the principles of the McKenna judgement.
  • 14:52
    Welcoming the result, Taoiseach Enda Kenny says it is the first time the Constitution will recognise children “as citizens in their own right” . The passing of the amendment “will help make childhood a good, secure and loving space for all our children. It will also give hope, reassurance and confidence to parents, foster parents and vulnerable children” , he says.
  • 15:18
    Fianna Fail spokesman on children Robert Troy welcomes the result as an “important moment”. “This amendment is not a silver bullet but it is certainly the right step forward,” he said. In relation to the Supreme Court judgement he says questions need to be asked about “how the Government brought controversy into what should have been the least contentious referendum in the history of the State”.
  • 16:41
    Updated gallery of photos from the vote and count
  • 16:46
    Sinn Féin children’s spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin says Government must put legislation and resources in to vindicate children’s rights. The relatively high No vote in working class areas is “significant” and reflects “deep mistrust of government” and State due to austerity. He is doubtful turnout would have been better on a weekday and says Saturday voting should not be dispensed with on this basis.
  • 16:59
    Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said result would make an enormous difference to the lives of vulnerable young people : “It is a testament to the incredible solidarity that has underpinned the Yes campaign, that across all divides — political, social and geographic — the people of Ireland have said Yes for children” .
  • 18:48
    No campaigner John Waters said the 42 per cent of people who voted no was a “fantastic achievement.” “I’m very disappointed that we didn’t defeat the Government on this but the significant number of people who voted no was a great achievement for the No side.”
  • 18:49
    No campaigner Kathy Sinnott called for the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald.
    “The amount of people voting no shows that the leadership in this country is out of touch. Heads should roll after this. Frances Fitzgerald’s position is untenable.”
  • 18:51
    Some more reaction from the No side: Solicitor Malachy Steenson said a challenge to the referendum was “up for discussion.” “There are huge questions this State has to answer. If I was the Minister in this current Government I wouldn’t be too complacent because a damning indictment of their policies has been delivered today”.
  • 18:56
    There are mixed views on whether or not Saturday voting was a factor in low turnout. Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said: “I’m not sure that the Saturday voting was very successful. A lot of parents were saying they’ve a lot of family commitments. Even though it was a lovely day yesterday the turnout has been a bit lower than I would have anticipated.”
  • 19:17
    Reaction from Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan: she was disappointed the turnout hadn’t been higher. “Probably in the fullness of time we’ll realise and understand the importance of today… It’s a really important day for children”.
  • 19:20
    Former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness says she would feel sorry if people voted no because “they had been made afraid by some rather spurious arguments”. “I never thought for a minute that we would get a huge majority” .
  • 20:01
    That's it from the live blog; with a reminder of the outcome: Yes 58%, No 42%, Turnout 33.5%.