On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, the people of Ireland will be asked to vote in two referendums on amendments to the Irish Constitution.
I am campaigning for two Yes votes.
The first referendum amends Article 41 of the Constitution which refers to Family as being based on marriage.
In today’s Ireland, many families extend beyond the family based on marriage. We all know people in Offaly who are one parent families, and those who are not married and have children. The current language in our constitution excludes these families. We need to change the language to reflect the Ireland we have become.
The second referendum removes text on the life of women in the home, and of mothers’ duties in the home. It inserts a new Article, 42B, to recognise and value family caring, regardless of the gender of the caregiver.
There is a very special role within families and homes for caring. By choice, I was a stay-at-home parent for some time when my children were younger. This must continue to be valued and the referendum does not downgrade rights for women, including mothers. However, care is not, and should not be the exclusive role or duty of women, and it’s time our Constitution reflected that.
Men now play a significant role in caregiving. Census 2022 data shows that in Offaly over 600 families are headed by single fathers. Nor is care exclusively about minding children - many of us know someone who cares for an elderly or disabled person.”
Let’s not complicate what is a straightforward and timely referendum. The present language is archaic, sexist and excludes many, and today’s Ireland has moved on. Our constitution should reflect that, so that’s why everyone who wants a more progressive and inclusive Irish society should vote yes and yes on March 8th.
In advance of the referendum, ensure you are on the Register of Electors here.