Sinn Féin call for children's vote on election day
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for the proposed referendum on children’s rights to be held on the same day as the General Election. While expressing regret at the limited nature of the proposed reforms, which fall short of Sinn Féin’s proposals, Deputy Ó Caoláin stated that the proposals amount to progress for children.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said: “We recognise that the bulk of the Minister’s proposals amount to progress for children and for this reason we would support their introduction.
“In 2005 Sinn Féin proposed that a new article be inserted into the Constitution expressly detailing children's rights and based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, the Minister's proposal falls short of the wording proposed by Sinn Féin and in government we would put further reaching changes to the people in order to achieve a real new beginning for children.
“It is our preference, which we clearly expressed to the Minister, that the referendum be held on the same day as the General Election, both to maximise turnout and hence the popular endorsement of the outcome, and for the obvious cost saving benefit.
“We also requested that the referendum involve two separate questions, one covering the general rights propositions and the other covering the proposal to introduce strict liability offences. We have been in consultation with many of the relevant NGOs including the Children's Rights Alliance, the Rape Crisis Network Ireland and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. And we will engage in further consultation before taking a formal position on proposition no. 5 i.e. Constitutional provision for strict liability offences.”