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IWLA backing ‘yes’ votes in referendums
Ministers announcing plans for a referendum on gender equality Pic: RollingNews.ie

31 Jan 2024 / ireland Print

IWLA backing ‘yes’ votes in referendums

The Irish Women Lawyers Association (IWLA) has said that it is supporting ‘yes’ votes in the two constitutional referendums on family and care taking place on 8 March.

The first referendum will be on a proposed amendment to article 41.1 that will broaden the protection offered to the family to include families other than those based on marriage.

While welcoming the proposed change, the IWLA described as “extremely unfortunate” the requirement that people in such families would be required to establish that they were in a ‘durable relationship’, without any further guidance within the Constitution as to what constituted a ‘durable relationship’.

The second vote will be on a proposal to repeal article 41.2, which includes a reference to women "in the home’" and insert a new article 42B to provide recognition for care within families.

‘Important steps’

The IWLA said that this article had been “entirely ineffective in its stated aim”, and had also prescribed a role for women that “disregards the full range of contributions that women make to Irish society”.

It stated that the identification of the valuable contribution carers made to society, together with the removal of the prescribed role for women, were “important steps in the right direction”.

The association added, however, that it would have preferred the Government to adopt the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly to oblige the State to take reasonable measures to support care within the home and wider community.

“We urge the Government to initiate legislation to give financial support to carers, to ensure the acknowledgement of the role of care in the Constitution is no hollow recognition,” the IWLA concluded.

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