Turnout for children's referendum poll among lowest
All parties in the Dáil continued to call for a Yes vote, but Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin yesterday demanded a “full statement” from Taoiseach Enda Kenny to “clear the air” following the controversy.
However, the Yes side remains confident of victory. Non-political and cross-party supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment believe the ruling came too late in the campaign to substantially alter what polls have predicted will be a large gap between the Yes and No camps.
The Government was taken by surprise when the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday its booklet and website breached the McKenna judgment, after the High Court had last week dismissed a challenge to the spend of €1.1 million of public money on an information campaign. The landmark 2005 McKenna judgment held public money should not be spent to espouse a particular side in a referendum campaign.
Proposed constitutional amendment the wording
Voters were asked to vote Yes or No to a proposal to include in the Constitution a new Article 42A and at the same time remove the current article 42.5.
The proposed new article reads as follows:
Children: Article 42A
1.The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2. 1° In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children, to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
2.° Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.
3. Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
4. 1° Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings –
i. brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or
ii. concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
2° Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1° of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.