Referendums move a step closer as Varadkar warns party the outcome cannot be taken for granted

Cabinet holds second meeting as Ministers clear the decks ahead of Christmas recess in one week

Good morning,

Cabinet meets again today with the aim of approving legislation to clear the way for the referendum on the woman’s life and place in the home.

The Government is proposing two referendums - to expand the concept of family in the Constitution and remove the reference to the role of women in the home - and these plans took a step forward last night.

Cormac McQuinn reports that an Oireachtas committee voted to allow the required legislation to be fast-tracked.


The Oireachtas Committee on Children and Equality approved a request to waive pre-legislative scrutiny of the two laws needed to hold the referendums.

TDs and Senators from Government parties defeated opposition politicians by eight votes to four.

As McQuinn reports, the issue also came up at Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting last night, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warning that the outcome for both votes cannot be taken for granted.

Given the Government plans to delete certain lines from the Constitution and add a whole new article, they will have a task ahead to inform the public in a clear way what they want to change and why.

In the meantime, here is our explainer detailing the proposed changes line for line, with the reasons why Ministers are seeking those changes.


Tánaiste Micheál Martin is in the Middle East for the Cop28 Summit as part of a three-day visit, following a trip to Egypt, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory last month.

The visit takes place ahead of a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels next Monday, at which the situation in Israel and Palestine will be further discussed.

Our Environment and Science Editor Kevin O’Sullivan is in Dubai and is reporting about how some countries have been accused of putting forward “grab bag of wish lists”.

The main document at the heart of matters is a “global stocktake” conducted over the past two years which “identifies gaps in implementation of the Paris Agreement by signatory countries, and includes options on closing them, especially in keeping global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees.”

The global stocktake is shaping up to be the make-or-break mechanism on delivering a deal of substance at Cop28 - so what exactly is it?

Kevin has put together this helpful explainer where he says that “it’s like the annual stocktake in your local pub but a little more precise than guesstimating how much whiskey is the bottle.” We will have continued coverage from the summit in Dubai on

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Dáil Eireann

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien takes questions on his brief at 9am followed by questions to Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys at 10.30am.

Leaders’ Questions are up at noon with Sinn Féin, The Labour Party, People Before Profit- Solidarity and The Regional Group in the driving seat. This will be followed by questions on policy or legislation. The Planning and Development Bill is up before 4pm. The Dáil adjourns at 9:05pm.

The full schedule is here.


Commencement Matters are up at 9:30am followed by the Order of Business at 10:30am. In the afternoon there will be a debate on the Electoral (Amendment) Bill and the Social Welfare Provisions Bill.

The full schedule can be found here.

Committee picks

At 9.30am, the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement will hold a discussion on the UK’s Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act legislation.

Another pick of the day will be the 09.30ammeeting of the Joint Committee on Justice which will hear again from Minister for Justice Helen McEntee on policing matters.

At 1.30pm, the Joint Committee on Environment will undertake a review of the Climate Action Plan 2023.

The most detailed schedule can be found here.

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