The Republic of Ireland is to press ahead with a referendum on a proposed change to the Constitution of Ireland in favour of children’s rights. The referendum will be held tomorrow (November 10) in spite of a ruling in the Irish Supreme Court yesterday (November 8) that the wording of a website set up to promote the change was biased.
The referendum proposes of the addition of a new section to the constitution, setting out that the Irish state “ recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children” and describing various measures by which children will be protected, such as adoption and care proceedings.
The section also promises:
“…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.”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the government had breached a 1995 ruling called the ‘McKenna judgement’ which required that the details of referenda be explained to the public in neutral language. Following the ruling, the government website promoting the change was taken down.
Leo Varadkhar, the Irish Minister for Transport, urged voters not to “punish the government for its mistake by voting ‘no’ in the referendum on Saturday.