Convention to vote on participation

The convention, chaired by Tom Arnold the chief executive of Concern, has been convened to make determinations on at least eight proposed constitutional changes. Its decisions are not binding on Government but it must respond to each decision made w

The convention, chaired by Tom Arnold the chief executive of Concern, has been convened to make determinations on at least eight proposed constitutional changes. Its decisions are not binding on Government but it must respond to each decision made w

Sat, Feb 16, 2013, 00:00

The Constitutional Convention will reconvene tomorrow to vote on measures to increase the participation of women in Irish politics.

Participants will also vote on whether or not the Constitutional clause on women in the home should be amended to reflect changing societal norms.

A feature of tomorrow's session will be a questions and answers session with advocacy groups including the Women's Council of Ireland, the 50:50 Group and Women for Election.

The results of the votes are expected around lunchtime.

The convention this afternoon heard presentations from the 50:50 Group and Women for Election.

Fiona Buckley of 50:50 said the under-representation of women was an “affront to the democratic ideals of justice and inequality”. She said Ireland had an “abysmal record”, with the Dáil having always been at least 85 per cent male.

Niamh Gallagher of Women for Election said women involved in community groups could not see how their leadership at a local level could transfer into politics.

Referring to incoming gender quotas for candidate selection, Ms Gallagher said more women were not going to come into politics “just through measures at the top level”.

Earlier the convention was asked to consider amending the clause on women in the home to introduce more “gender-neutral” language.

Article 41.2 says the State recognises that be her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

Article 41.2.2 says the State shall therefore endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in home.

The convention this morning heard presentations from the National Women’s Council of Ireland and Curam, a non-Government organisation seeking recognition and support for the unremunerated work of parents and carers.

Delegates queried the implications of the current wording for widowers bringing up children and called for the text to be updated to take account of gay parents and other forms of carers, such as an elderly sibling caring for another.

The convention, chaired by Tom Arnold the chief executive of Concern, has been convened to make determinations on at least eight proposed constitutional changes. Its decisions are not binding on Government but it must respond to each decision made within four months.

The convention is comprised of Mr Arnold, 33 politicians from both jurisdictions, and 66 citizens selected by age, sex, geography and social status.

Last month the convention voted in favour of lowering the voting age but rejected the reduction of the presidential term of office from seven years to five.

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