Date set for presidential poll


The presidential election and three referendums will be held on Thursday, October 27th, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced today.

The timing of the election date is a week later than previously indicated because of projected delays in completing the legislation for the votes.

As well as determining the next president, the public will vote on whether pay cuts for judges should be tied to any reductions that apply to public servants and politicians. It is expected senior judges may face pay cuts of about €50,000 a year if the referendum is passed.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has received approval from Cabinet for a new wording for Article 35.5 of the Constitution.

Judges have been exempted from pay cuts to date under Article 35.5 which states: “The remuneration of a judge shall not be reduced during his continuance in office.”

In a statement, the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, said he had obtained Government approval for the proposed wording of the constitutional amendment on judges’ pay.

"It is important to note that the amendment proposed does not in any way affect the crucial independence of the judiciary nor does it permit the reduction of judicial salaries in isolation from other public service salaries or on a capricious basis," Mr Shatter said.

In a separate referendum, the electorate will also vote on reversing the Abbeylara judgment, which severely constrained the investigative powers of Oireachtas committees.

A third referendum vote, the subject of which has yet to be announced, is expected to involve changing the Constitution to afford greater legal protections to whistleblowers.

The Government wants to reduce the pay of serving judges in line with other public servants. Yesterday, the new Chief Justice said the judiciary was not, and had never been, opposed to a referendum on judges’ pay.

Mrs Justice Susan Denham, who was formally appointed to the position by the President yesterday, said judges were not immune from the effects of the economic crisis.

“Judge are not, nor have they ever been, opposed to playing their part in sharing the financial pain required of everyone in this difficult time,” she said.