Posts Tagged ‘ constitution ’

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.

“Nothing To Fear” – Kenny on Potential Fiscal Referendum

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has today said that there is “nothing to fear from a referendum” on the proposed eurozone fiscal treaty.

Mr Kenny made the comments ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels at which the wording of such a document will be agreed. Irish government officials are said to be hopeful that the final text will enable the treaty to be implemented without the holding of a national referendum.

Mr Kenny said, “I’ve made this perfectly clear: that when the text is finalised, I will ask the Attorney General formally to present the government with the Attorney General’s response as to whether the agreed text – as finalised by the politicians – is in compliance with our constitution. If it is in compliance with Bunreacht na hÉireann, there is no need for a referendum. If it’s not, there will be a referendum.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio programme today, Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said she was hopeful the core of the draft treaty would remain unchanged. She also acknowledged that it would be difficult for Ireland to remain in the eurozone if voters rejected the treaty, saying “I think it would make it almost impossible for us to continue as part of the currency union because being part of a currency union means you have to abide by the rules.” On the same programme, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pádraig Mac Lochlainn accused the government of “running away from debate” by not holding a referendum.

A Belgium-wide general strike is currently underway to coincide with the political summit in Brussels. The work stoppage was organised by trade unions in protest at the plans of the newly-formed government to cut €11 billion in public spending and to raise the country’s retirement age. AFP reports that no public transport is available and blockades are present on many of the country’s roads, forcing the Belgian government to arrange access for the arriving EU leaders through a military airport.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told assembled reporters in Brussels that he hoped the conference would capacitate Greece, Portugal and Ireland to become less reliant on EU funding and to return to the open borrowing markets.

Germany recently confirmed it is seeking to have an EU-appointed “budget commissioner” sent to Greece with powers to override its government’s budget policy if necessary. Any other bailout-recipient country, including Ireland, that consistently miss repayment targets could face a similar fate.

Twenty five of the twenty seven EU states have consented to a eurozone fiscal stability treaty, with Britain and the Czech Republic refusing to sign the proposed intergovernmental document.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has become the latest opposition politician to voice his reservations about the treaty, describing it as “too limited to solve the crisis”.

The treaty will be formally signed at the next EU summit in early March and ratified by 1 January, 2013.

If the Attorney General decides the treaty does not breach the Constitution and a referendum is not required to implement it, a legal challenge from opposition parties is likely. The United Left Alliance today described not holding a referendum as “utterly undemocratic”.