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Opposition parties likely to support Children's Rights referendum

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin welcome the wording, but SF says it wants to consult legal advisors before giving the referendum full approval.

Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the party would be engaging with legal advisers before deciding whether to support the referendum, though it welcomed the publication.
Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the party would be engaging with legal advisers before deciding whether to support the referendum, though it welcomed the publication.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

THE TWO MAIN opposition parties have given a warm welcome to the publication of the wording for the referendum on the rights of the child – with Fianna Fáil confirming already that it will campaign in favour of the move.

Both FF and Sinn Féin have responded positively to the wording published by children’s minister Frances Fitzgerald this morning.

Fianna Fáil’s childrens spokesperson Robert Troy said the wording published this morning was almost identical to the wording agreed by the previous government in January 2011, a formula of wording put forward by the then-minister Barry Andrews.

“I will be working alongside Barry and the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party urging our own members and the public at large to support this important change to the Constitution,” Troy said this afternoon.

Andrews, who lost his seat at the general election the following month, will be Fianna Fáil’s director of elections for the referendum.

Sinn Féin also welcomed the publication, with its spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin describing the referendum as “a significant step towards enshrining children’s rights in the Constitution”.

“While it does not exactly mirror the wording agreed by the cross-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, it is a substantial step towards that Committee’s shared objective,” Ó Caoláin remarked.

The party stopped short of offering immediate approval of the wording, however, saying it wished first to engage with its legal advisors to see if potential amendments might first be needed.

“Sinn Féin looks forward to the publication and processing of the relevant accompanying legislation and engaging Government on these important issues,” Ó Caoláin said.

“Our hope remains that the final wording of this amendment will be sufficiently strong to make a real difference to the lives of all children in Ireland, and will represent progress towards cherishing all the children of the nation equally.”

Read: Wording for children’s referendum released

More: Children’s referendum ‘not a charter for breaking up families’ – Fitzgerald

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Gavan Reilly

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