Published date: 05 Mar 2024

Children’s Rights Alliance position on the 39th and 40th Referendums

Children’s Rights Alliance calls for Yes Yes Vote this Friday

The Children’s Rights Alliance publishes its position paper calling for a Yes Yes vote for the 39th and 40th referendums this Friday.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said:

“The purpose of these referendums are to change our Constitution to bring it in line with where Ireland is today and reflect the broader desire for greater equality for children and families across the country. Currently the constitutional definition of the family does not include children raised outside of married families. We all know families that do not fall under this definition, but they should be considered no less a family than any other. Four in ten children born in Ireland each year are born into families that are not founded on marriage. Thousands of children are born, raised and live in loving families with a lone parent, or grandparents or guardians. These children should not be discriminated against because of this. This amendment would see those children and their family members finally included and recognised as a family within our Constitution and we wholeheartedly support the important message it sends to children in non-martial families that their family is considered equal. The amendment will copper-fasten recent changes to support children in diverse families and provide additional safety net to protect children’s right to family life in the Constitution.”

“The current wording on care in the Constitution represents a gender stereotype as it only reflects women’s role in the home, it does not recognise the role dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, kinship carers and other people have in providing care. A yes vote will recognise the role of women, men and family members providing care, representing the realities for thousands of families across Ireland. This Amendment will not provide a right to a tangible care benefit (e.g. income supports) for those providing care within families however, it will not reduce the responsibilities of the State in the provision of care supports. The legal effect of the provision is that it places a moral and political obligation on the Government to support care in the family.”

“We believe that every child should have every opportunity to reach their full potential. Our Constitution, our laws, our policies and our services should reflect this. It is important to note that a referendum should not be seen as the end goal here. This Government and future governments have a long road ahead to ensure that every child, particularly those who are marginalised in the State, have equal access to opportunities. This work needs to start with a national dialogue that reaches all aspects of the island of Ireland and one that is led by the people most affected. In 2018, Ireland ratified the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities yet still the State has not yet adopted the Optional Protocol which should be done as a matter of priority. If the Government’s intention is to truly value care, then actions must follow this referendum to ensure legislation, policy, services and budgets are also enhanced to support this,” concluded Tanya Ward.




For media queries contact:

Robyn Keleghan, [email protected] / 087 136 8975


Notes to Editors:

  • Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for media interviews.
  • The Children’s Rights Alliance position paper is available here.


About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites 150 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL

For media queries, please contact:

Emma Archbold

Campaigns and Communications Director