Campaign for No vote in children's referendum

Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 01:00

A GROUP established to advocate a No vote in the forthcoming referendum on the rights of children says it shares a common belief in protecting children with those on the Yes side.

“Where we are divided is on how this should be accomplished,” said Maria Mhic Mheanmain, a spokeswoman for Parents for Children. “We are opposed to removing the right of children to have their rights vindicated by their parents.”

The launch of the group’s campaign yesterday was attended by representatives of the Christian Solidarity Party, Alliance of Parents against the State, and solicitor Malachy Steenson.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore called on voters to make “a quiet, dignified statement” by voting Yes in the referendum.

The Tánaiste launched his party’s referendum campaign by warning that the proposed constitutional amendment would not “solve all our problems” but would ensure that the State was better equipped to protect children.

He said the referendum would give children the right to be heard, not just seen, in Ireland’s Constitution and laws. He rejected the contention of No campaigners that children’s rights were already protected in law and the Constitution.

The Constitution did accord the family rights, he said, but gave no distinct rights to children – which had caused difficulties.