Opposition call for housing and water to be included in referendums

Leo Varadkar has announced plans to hold eight polls in two years

Opposition call for housing and water to be included in referendums

Votes are cast in the referendums on Marriage Equality and Age of Eligibility to the Office of President Bill in 2015 | Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Two opposition parties are calling for more referendums to be included by the Government in the next two years.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced plans to hold seven referendums between now and the summer of 2019.

These will include the 8th amendment, blasphemy, women in the home and reducing the voting age to 16.

The Green Party wants to see housing rights, water ownership and Seanad reform to be included in the polls.

It has welcomed proposals for the other referendums, but says more issues need to be addressed.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan says: "There are a number of outstanding constitutional issues to be dealt with, and we broadly welcome the Government's proposed approach to these issues.

"We would, however, like to see the Government advance polls on the right to housing, the public ownership of water supplies, and on Seanad reform.

"We believe these are very important issues that need to be prioritised in the seven referendum slots that have been identified for the next two years."

File photo

Labour spokesperson on water, Jan O'Sullivan, has expressed says she is surprise at "the failure of the Government" for a referendum on water infrastructure remaining in public ownership.

Deputy O'Sullivan says: "A key recommendation of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Water was that a referendum would be held to ensure our water infrastructure remains in public ownership.

"It is bizarre that while considering the possible dates for holding votes on future constitutional amendments that no consideration was given to holding a referendum on water infrastructure.

"There is cross-party consensus on this issue, and a draft wording has also been discussed at the committee.

"It was reported just a week ago that the Attorney-General's office was examining this issue.

"The Water Services Bill has been published but we have yet to hear when the Government plans to hold this vote."