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Leah Farrell/

Tánaiste says Government may have 'overestimated' public support for Constitutional changes

Micheál Martin said he “fully accepts” the outcome of the two referendums.

TÁNAISTE MICHEÁL MARTIN has said the government may have “overestimated” public support for the proposed constitutional amendments that were voted on at the weekend.

The Tánaiste said he “fully accepts” the outcome of the two referendums.

The two proposed amendments — one on removing language about women’s “duties within the home” and replacing it with an article about the state supporting the provision of care within families, and one on expanding the definition of families beyond only those based on marriage to include families based on “durable relationships” — were both rejected by voters.
73.93% of voters were against the care amendment and 67% were against the family amendment.

The government, which had called for a Yes vote in both referendums, had to accept on Saturday that their campaigns had not succeeded as votes were counted around the country.

Speaking to reporters in Limerick today, the Tánaiste said the change to the language about women’s duties in the home was recommended in a constitutional convention in 1996. 

“Suffice to say, this issue has been on the agenda a long, long time and what this Government did was put it to the people,” he said.

“The people said we’re happy with the existing provisions in the Constitution – or certainly didn’t accept the propositions that were put before them.”

He said that while it would be worth reflecting on the events, he believes there “may be” some over-reacting over interpreting the defeat for the Government’s proposals.

“I’m comfortable with the people making a decision on something that’s been around for 30 years,” he said.

“Successive governments, successive Oireachtas members of all parties have always advocated for changing these. Maybe it was overestimated the degree to which the people actually were pushing for change to these articles and I think the people gave an answer on Friday, which I fully accept.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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