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Referendum on 'women's life within the home' to be held in October

it’s intended that the referendum would be held in conjunction with the removal of the blasphemy offence from the Constitution.

Ireland abortion laws Yes cards at the count centre in Dublin's RDS during counting of the Eighth Amendment referendum. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

THE GOVERNMENT IS planning to hold two referendums in October to remove two references out of our Constitution.

The first referendum would be on the removal of Article 41.2 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, which refers to a women’s life and duties in the home.

It states:

41.2.1 In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
41.2.2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

The Cabinet today agreed that a separate deliberate process is required; Flanagan said that the next Citizens’ Assembly will be asked to consider the issue.

Making the announcement this evening, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said it would be an appropriate year to hold a referendum on removing that reference.

“In this – the centenary year of the extension of voting rights to women – the Government believes it is an appropriate time to propose the deletion of Article 41.2 and to use the opportunity of the referendum to have a public debate about gender equality in Ireland,” he said.

The proposal to delete the provision does not reflect a negative view of women in the home, it reflects a negative view of the notion that women should be confined to the home only, and should not have choices or be encouraged to play a role in public life.
Modern Ireland values meritocracy, diversity and inclusion and Article 41.2 does not reflect those values. Our Constitution does not seek to confine the place of men; we believe it should not seek to confine the place of women. Both men and women should be able to live the lives they choose.

He added that the government intends to hold this referendum in October – at the same time as the referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution and the Presidential election, if one takes place.

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