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Lisbon referendum should be on a weekend to accommodate students and those working away from home - Doherty

11 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has called on the Government to re-think its proposal to have the Lisbon Treaty referendum on Thursday 12th June. Senator Doherty said the referendum should be held on a Saturday in order to facilitate students and workers living away from home.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said, "Bertie Ahern has indicated that Thursday 12th June will be the date for the Lisbon Treaty referendum. However mid-week polling days are not suitable for the many thousands of students and workers living away from home - and the Taoiseach is well aware of this.

"I am calling on the Taoiseach and the Government, in the name of democracy, to re-think the date for the Lisbon Treaty referendum. A Saturday polling day would be preferable and would ensure a much higher turnout.

"The planned referendum also comes about at the time when the Leaving Certificate examinations are due to take place. For many students this may be their first opportunity to vote and will be eager to exercise that right. However, if polling day is mid week it is likely that the students will have an exam the next day and will not want to disturb their studying.

"Sinn Féin has consistently called for elections and referendums to be held at weekends to ensure the maximum participation. It is unfair to ask students and people working away from home, to travel home to vote only to have to travel back on the same day to be in work or college the next day." ENDS

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