Saturday referendum 'an experiment'
on 11/10/2012 00:00:00
The referendum proposes to insert dedicated children's rights into the Constitution, and has the support of all the political parties in the Dáil.
Mr Varadkar is Fine Gael's director of elections for the campaign.
In a briefing with journalists yesterday, he said there was evidence to suggest that people were well disposed towards the referendum proposal but did not know enough about it.
"We have to make sure that people get as much information as possible," he said.
Polling day is Nov 10. While not unprecedented to hold a referendum on a Saturday, it is rare.
Polling will take place between 9am and 10pm. Had it been a weekday vote, polls would have opened at 7am, to allow people to vote before work.
The reduction in polling hours will save around €600,000 for the taxpayer, the Department of the Environment has said.
But Mr Varadkar acknowledged there was a potential risk in terms of turnout.
"We're taking account of the fact that there could of course be a low turnout… we're trying to make sure that we make [people] aware that it's happening, and then, number two, advocate strongly for a Yes vote."
He said the party would place 10,000 posters around the country and print an initial 500,000 leaflets for delivery to households with the possibility of more.
The party has allocated €150,000 as an initial budget for its campaign, he said, again with the possibility of increasing that if required. "We're taking nothing for granted. We're obviously conscious that we had a referendum on Oireachtas inquiries that we all thought was fine and dandy and there wasn't a strong Government campaign, and literally a one-week-long clever campaign was launched by people [which] defeated that referendum.
"So we're taking nothing for granted. Even though it's not yet clear who's against us in this referendum, we're not assuming that somebody won't appear… and change the picture fundamentally, so we're preparing for that."
Fine Gael will formally launch its campaign next Monday in Dublin.