336. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on holding the marriage equality referendum on 24 April 2015, as proposed by the Union of Students in Ireland, so as to facilitate students who will be undertaking examinations the following month; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2593/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): On 16 December 2014, Government decided to hold the marriage equality referendum in May 2015. The necessary preparations are under way in my Department to meet this positive commitment. While I am conscious of the time pressures on students, I regret that it will not be possible to move the referendum forward for two reasons. Firstly, the Referendum Commission needs adequate time in which to undertake its essential role of informing the general public on the issues involved in the referendum. Secondly, time is needed to pass the necessary preparatory legislation for the referendum.