Referendum set for November 10th

Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 01:00

The children’s referendum will be held on Saturday, November 10th, the Taoiseach told the Dáil today.

Enda Kenny told the House he would announce the wording of the referendum tomorrow and also name the Referendum Commission chair.

He said he would brief Opposition leaders tomorrow in advance of the wording being published.

Mr Kenny said Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald would also publish the Adoption Amendment Bill tomorrow

The Taoiseach said the Government was “committed to ensuring the Irish people have all the information they need to make an informed decision”.

He said the Referendum Commission would be well-resourced. "The protection of children is an issue that concerns us all," he said. "Numerous reports over many years have called for dedicated constitutional provisions for children."

Mr Kenny said the referendum proposals, when combined with other reforms to improve child protection and welfare services, represented an historic step forward. He pointed out that there had been good co-operation on a cross-party basis about the issue over many years.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Taoiseach should have consulted the Opposition before making the announcement. It would have been "common courtesy", Mr Martin said, particularly on an issue pertaining to the amendment of the Constitution and it was "proper parliamentary procedure".

Meanwhile, Ms Fitzgerald said the referendum would be one of the most significant in the history of the State.

“I am very pleased by the decision of Government to hold this historic referendum on a Saturday," she said in a statement..

“This referendum proposes a child-centred change to our Constitution and I think it is only right that we are taking a similar, child-centred approach to the holding of a Referendum, by naming a Saturday as polling date."

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