Children's Referendum - What's Next?


On 10 November 2012, the Irish people went to the polls and voted in favour of the 31st amendment to the Constitution to strengthen the constitutional rights of children. The Alliance has been calling for a referendum for some time and we are delighted with the result.

The Alliance is extremely optimistic for the amendment’s potential to progress children’s rights in Ireland. Our attention has now shifted towards actively lobbying for key actions to ensure this. These include:

  1. advocating for robust legislation to make the new constitutional amendment a reality in law with the widest possible interpretation for children’s rights;
  2. conducting an audit of Irish law to identify gaps in the recognition and protection of children’s rights in Ireland not covered by the constitutional amendment and proposals for addressing these gaps to inform, inspire and impact upon future legislation;
  3. lobbying for a legally accountable, well-resourced and strong Child and Family Support Agency that would be responsible for providing child protection services as well as adequate resources to give effect to the various other aspects of the amendment;
  4. commissioning a paper to identify the best way to provide children’s rights training to judges and key decision-makers; and
  5. calling upon the Constitutional Convention (the public forum examining the Constitution) to examine the right to equality under the Constitution.

What Now?

The full impact of the Supreme Court judgment in the McCrystal case of December 2012 remains to be seen. The Court determined that parts of the Government’s referendum information materials and  advertisements involved the use of public moneys in a manner which was not fair, equal or impartial. Also, an additional challenge to the outcome of the referendum is currently being heard in the High Court (Summer 2013). The Alliance expects a decision in August 2013.

Learn More

 You can go to the 'Irish Constitution' section of Resources, for a comprehensive listing of all our publications in relation to our nearly 20-year campaign for constitutional reform.