The government has published its legislative agenda for the period up to the summer and there’s not a mention of the necessary bills needed to run any referendum (either on Seanad Reform or abolition, nor the Children’s referendum) in conjunction with the Presidential Election due for early October
The Presidential election is likely to be required to be held in early October as President McAleese took office on 11 November 1997 and would be due to stand down on November 10th 2011. Based on the election of Mary Robinson on 7 November 1990 and her taking up office on Dec 3rd the election would need to have taken place some weeks prior to when President McAleese would be due to step down.
The government would need to have published and passed through the Oireachtas any bills related to the holding of referenda some number of weeks before that date of early October when polling would happen. And with the Dáil not likely to return until September that would be rather tight to get done before the election would take place. It might be just doable if the Dáil wasn’t to go on much of a recess for the summer but it would seem likely that on balance that it will not be happening. Fact is it always seemed a tight timetable to do.
What should happen is that the government should announce its intention to start the public consultation about the political reforms we need to see in the entire Oireachtas and in local government once the Seanad elections are done and dusted.