Date for children’s referendum sought

THERE were fresh calls yesterday for the Government to name the date for a referendum on Children’s Rights, after Minister for Children Barry Andrews said a review of the wording was being carried out.

The proposed wording for the Constitutional amendment was drafted by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, which published the wording in February.

Since then pressure has been building for the Government to name a date, possibly as soon as this autumn, for a referendum on the issue.

However, Minister Andrews said yesterday that due process was still being carried out regarding the proposed wording, prompting anger from the opposition.

Fine Gael Children’s spokesman Charlie Flanagan questioned whether the Government now had doubts over the wording, which had been arrived at through all party consensus at committee level.

“Is the Government not only delaying the referendum but planning to shelve it?” he said.

“Fine Gael urges the Government to set an autumn date and begin a public information campaign.”

However, the minister yesterday appeared to say the referendum would now be pushed off until next year, although he was notably non-committal on the point.”

The Government has already signalled that certain issues regarding the wording needed to be teased out, and it is understood that this process could be concluded shortly.

However, the likelihood of a referendum date being set this year appears to have faded.


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