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Kenny Says Referendum Will Give Children A Second Chance

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised the Children’s Rights Referendum will give “a second chance to some of Ireland’s most vulnerable children”.

The wording of the referendum, which will be held on Saturday November 10th, grants rights to the child but also allows the State to take the place of parents “in exceptional circumstances”.

Mr Kenny said that Irish law has been ignorant for too long as it maintained that “children should be seen and not heard”.

“With the Children’s Referendum, it is proposed for the first time in the history of this Republic to ask the people to vote to insert an article in the Constitution dedicated entirely to children as individuals as citizens in their own right,” he said.

The amendment to the Constitution says the State recognises and affirms the “rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights”.

It will give the State stronger powers to intervene when the parents, regardless of their marital status, “fail in their duty towards their children”.

The amendment is made up of one new article with four sections. The referendum will also provide for the adoption of children where the parents “have failed . . . in their duty”.

The best interests of the child are described as the “paramount consideration” in any legal proceedings.

The publication of the wording for the referendum has been welcomed in all quarters with opposition parties and campaign groups signalling they would also be calling for a Yes vote.

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