Who stands where on the children's referendum?


A roundup of various views on the children's rights referendum:

YES FOR CHILDREN/CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN: An umbrella movement not associated with any political party, representing Barnardos, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), the Children’s Rights Alliance and other organisations, will support the proposed constitutional amendment.

FINE GAEL: Launching the referendum wording today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “For too long in Ireland we lived by the dictum that children should be seen and not heard. On November 10th we have the opportunity change all of that.”

LABOUR: Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said: “It is about ensuring that we can protect children, in the exceptional cases when that protection is needed. It is about protecting children equally, regardless of their background.”

FIANNA FÁIL: The party’s spokesman on children Robert Troy said Fianna Fáil would support the referendum, but claimed the new wording was “virtually identical” a text provisionally signed off by the previous Government before the General Election.

SINN FÉIN: Children’s spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caolain welcomed the publication of the proposed wording, saying it was a significant step towards enshrining children’s rights in the Constitution.

INDEPENDENT TD CATHERINE MURPHY: “Minister Fitzgerald has clearly given extensive thought, time and commitment to producing this vital document and I think the wording is a positive move towards finally defining the rights of Ireland’s children.”

INDEPENDENT SENATOR RONAN MULLEN: Said his first impression was that the wording seemed to “get the balance right” and he was likely to be satisfied by it. He welcomed the fact that the clause, ‘The State shall cherish all the children of the State equally’, had been dropped. “Importing the notion of the State as parent could be potentially problematic down the line. The State is back where it belongs here, where it is the guardian of the common good.”


IONA INSTITUTE: Director David Quinn said he would need to study the wording for a few days. “It’s a very complex amendment and we can’t come up with a snap judgement”. However, he said it was “reassuring” that the State could intervene in family matters in “exceptional circumstances”.

INDEPENDENT SENATOR JILLIAN VAN TURNHOUT: Said she would take a few days to consult with legal counsel and consider the full implications of wording before she made her position known. However, she congratulated Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald for publishing the wording.


FORMER SUPREME COURT JUDGE HUGH O’FLAHERTY:  Has said a referendum is not necessary to protect children’s rights. The matters are covered by an existing article of the Constitution, in legislation and in court judgments, he argued in an article in the Irish Independent recently.

KATHY SINNOTT: The former Independent MEP has claimed the referendum could result in enforced vaccinations.