Mr. John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, today (7th July, 2009) announced that he has made an order under the Referendum Act 1998 establishing an independent statutory Referendum Commission for the purposes of the forthcoming referendum on the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009.
In accordance with the 1998 Act, the Chief Justice has nominated the Hon. Mr. Justice Frank Clarke to act as Chairperson of the Commission.
The Act provides that the other members of the Commission are:
* the Comptroller and Auditor General (Mr. John Buckley),
* the Ombudsman (Ms. Emily O*Reilly),
* the Clerk of the Dáil (Mr. Kieran Coughlan),
* the Clerk of the Seanad (Ms. Deirdre Lane).
The principal function of the Commission is to prepare a statement containing a general explanation of the subject matter of the referendum proposal on the Lisbon Treaty. The Commission is required to publish this statement and distribute it to the electorate, promote awareness of the referendum and encourage the electorate to vote.
The Commission will, in addition, consider and rule on applications from bodies or groups for declaration as approved bodies who may appoint agents at the referendum to be present at polling stations and at the counting of votes.