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Sinn Féin calls for a second Constitutional Convention

2 February, 2014 - by Caitríona Ruane

Sinn Féin delegates to the Constitutional Convention have called on the Irish Government and Oireachtas to empower a second Constitutional Convention with a broader mandate to consider issues related to the strengthening of constitutional protection of human rights and outstanding political and institutional reform issues, including Seanad reform and northern and diasporic representation in the Dáil.

 Speaking from Malahide, Caitríona Ruane MLA said:

 “This Convention has worked hard, it has worked well and it has delivered on its mandate to date.  This experiment in deliberative democracy has been a success.  But there is still a huge range of other important proposals for constitutional amendment that remain outstanding. A fresh mandate is therefore warranted, to enable the Convention to do the comprehensive constitutional reform work that both Irish Government coalition partners promised during the last election.

 “In particular, the Convention should be empowered to consider fundamental rights amendments, as required under the Good FridayAgreement.  Rights are now more relevant to citizens than ever.  They must be entrenched in way that allows people to better use the constitution as a tool to hold the Irish Government to account for its actions and inactions, and to defend themselves against bad public decisions and their effects.

 “A fresh Convention should also consider Seanad reform as a matter of priority.  This is one of a number of long outstanding institutional reform issues that were beyond the limited mandate of the first Convention.

 “Finally, the outstanding issue of appropriate representation in the Dáil for citizens resident outside the State, whether in the north or in the diaspora, is one that the current Convention was forced to defer.  This weekend I proposed that a second Convention in future also give this issue the consideration it deserves.” ENDS

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