'Children will now be recognised in their own right'

Mon, Nov 12, 2012, 00:00

YES SIDE REACTION:Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the passing of the children’s rights amendment was of fundamental importance and meant “children will now be recognised in their own right”.

He said it will help make childhood “a good, secure and loving space for all our children” and will also give hope, reassurance and confidence to parents, foster parents and vulnerable children.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore also welcomed the result, saying people had “made a strong and unequivocal statement on the values they attach to children and childhood”.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said she was delighted the amendment had been passed, describing it as a historic day for Irish children in terms of their place in the Constitution and the protections offered to them. She said the amendment was a “first step” and a lot more work was needed in regard to legislation and reforming child services.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the Supreme Court decision last Thursday which found the Government’s referendum information booklet and website were “not fair, equal or impartial” would be addressed when the court’s detailed judgment is delivered on December 11th.

Future referendums

Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael’s director of elections for the referendum, said: “We’ll have to think long and hard over future referenda and particularly ones that relate to controversial subjects and social issues and, given the decision made by the Supreme Court, anyone looking for a change in the Constitution will have to raise a lot of money to finance their own campaign.”

Sinn Féin spokesman on children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the vote was a clear endorsement of the amendment to strengthen the rights of children but said the Government now needed to “match words with actions”.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on children Robert Troy welcomed the result but said questions remained over the Government’s handling of the campaign.