Thursday, 15 December 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
21. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she expects the referendum on the rights of children to be held in spring 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40322/11]
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Programme for Government 2011 states that the Referendum on Children’s Rights is a priority, and that the wording of the proposed referendum will be along the lines of that proposed by the All Party Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children.
Since taking office, both myself and officials from my Department have had a number of meetings with the Attorney General and her officials to progress this commitment. Work on the wording of the referendum is ongoing, focusing on ensuring that the proposed Referendum reflects the deliberations and conclusions of the Joint Committee and the commitment in the Programme for Government. It is my intention to seek approval from Government for the proposed wording once finalised, with a view to holding the referendum next year. I anticipate that a wording will be developed shortly. I am anxious to ensure that any wording which emerges will have the support it needs across parties and with the public. The timing of the referendum will have regard to the need to allow an appropriate period of time for the proposal to be fully communicated to the public. Not withstanding that I am committed to advancing the referendum at as early a date in 2012 as possible.
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