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Referendum of 30 October 1997
17th Amendment
Cabinet Confidentiality





This amendment was ACCEPTED

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Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution (No 2) Bill, 1997

Polling for the referendum, which was held in conjunction with a Presidential Election, took place on Thursday 30 October 1997 between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm. The subject matter of the referendum was described as follows in the official polling card sent to each elector:

The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution (No 2) Bill, 1997, proposes to insert the following subsection after subsection 2° of section 4 of Article 28 of the Constitution:

3° The confidentiality of discussions at meetings of the Government shall be respected in all circumstances save only where the High Court determines that disclosure should be made in respect of a particular matter -

  1. in the interests of the administration of justice by a Court, or
  2. by virtue of an overriding public interest, pursuant to an application in that behalf by a tribunal appointed by the Government or a Minister of the Government on the authority of the Houses of the Oireachtas to inquire into a matter stated by them to be of public importance.

The total number of votes recorded in favour of the proposal was 632,777 and the total number of votes recorded against the proposal was 569,175. As the proposal was duly approved by the people, the Bill was signed by the President on 14 November 1997 and promulgated as a law.

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