Sinn Féin delegates to the Constitutional Convention have called on the coalition Government to move swiftly to implement this deliberative body’s recommendations, and to issue a fresh mandate to enable it to consider a broader range of amendments for empowering citizens to hold government to account.
Speaking from Malahide following the Convention’s vote on blasphemy, the final predetermined issue under its Oireachtas mandate, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:
“This Convention brings together citizens, elected representatives, academic experts and civil society. It has worked hard, it has worked well and it has delivered on its mandate to date. It is now time for the Government to show the Convention the respect it deserves and implement its recommendations by putting them to the people for decision.
“But there is a huge range of other important proposals for constitutional amendment that remain outstanding from previous expert and Oireachtas Committee reviews, or identified since. The Convention has proved itself efficient and effective. A fresh mandate is therefore warranted, to enable it to do the comprehensive constitutional reform work that both Government coalition partners promised during the last election.”
The Sinn Féin delegation, which included Senator Kathryn Reilly and Caitríona Ruane MLA, also proposed that the Convention should use its remaining time to prioritise issues related to the strengthening of constitutional protection of human rights, as required under the Good Friday Agreement. Ó Snodaigh continued,
“The right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, the rights to housing, healthcare, and education all require better constitutional protection. These rights are now more relevant to citizens than ever. They must be entrenched in way that allows people to use the constitution as a tool to hold Government to account for its actions and inactions, and to defend themselves against bad public decisions and their effects.
“We hope that the Convention membership will agree that prioritising this issue of economic, social and cultural rights will best serve their fellow citizens and address their most urgent immediate concerns.”