In This Section:

Wording of Childrens Rights Amendment to Constitution published.

24 September, 2012

The referendum will take place on Saturday, November 10th, the Taoiseach has said.

At a news conference in Government Buildings Mr Kenny said children in Ireland had to be “seen and not heard” for too long, but there was now an opportunity to change that in the referendum.

The wording is based on the “core principles” of the text published by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children in February 2010.

It contains a number of elements in a single article. The first element recognises the natural and imprescriptible rights of children.

The second is similar to the current article 42.5, which the amendment proposes to delete, relating to the State supplying the role of the family in exceptional cases. It makes clear this intervention can take place irrespective of parents’ marital status.

The third element provides for the adoption of children whose parents, again irrespective of marital status, have failed for a period of time prescribed by law in their responsibility. It will also allow for voluntary placement for adoption, meaning married parents can consent for the first time to having their children placed for adoption.

The fourth part says the best interests of the child must be a “paramount” consideration in judicial and custody proceedings. The fifth element says in such proceedings the views of children must be heard and taken into account, having regard to the child’s age and maturity.

In addition to the referendum wording, Ms Fitzgerald has also published the Draft Adoption (Amendment) Bill.

“It sets out in detail how we propose to address the issues of voluntary placement, the adoption of children in foster care as a result of serious and persistent parental failure, and the role of the High Court in deciding on such matters.” she said.