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Wording for children's referendum released

The wording has been published by Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD, who said the debate on the referendum is “a debate for all of us”.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE WORDING for the Children’s Referendum has been released by Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The details of the wording of the proposed amendment to the Constitution, which is intended to strengthen the rights of the child, were published at 11.30am. The referendum will take place on Saturday 10 November.

Minister Fitzgerald said: “This referendum will change the Constitution so it: Protects children; supports families; and treats all children equally.”

She added that the Draft Adoption (Amendment) Bill has also been published, which sets out in detail how her department proposes to “address the issues of voluntary placement, the adoption of children in foster care as a result of serious and persistent parental failure, and the role of the High Court in deciding on such matters.”

The campaign for the referendum will include a new website, www.childrensreferendum.ie/ while information booklets will be sent to every home.

“This is a debate for all of us,” concluded the Minister of the debate on the referendum.

Proposed New Article 42A

Children

1. The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.

2. 1° In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.

2° Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.

3. Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.

4. 1° Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings -

i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or

ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1° of this section 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.

Read: Opposition to be briefed on proposed wording for children’s referendum>

Read: Children’s rights referendum to be held on Saturday 10 November>

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