Constitutional Amendment on Children
- There have been calls from many quarters to strengthen the position of children in the Irish Constitution.
- The Constitutional Review Group recommended in their report of 1996 that the Constitution be amended to include the welfare principle and to provide an express guarantee of certain other children’s rights deriving from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- The All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in 2006 recommended in its review of the Articles dealing with the family that a new section should be inserted in Article 41 dealing with the rights of children as follows:
Three notable groups, the Ombudsman for Children, the Children’s Rights Alliance and the Law Society also identified a need for the rights of Children to be highlighted in the Irish Constitution.
- All children, irrespective of birth, gender, race or religion, are equal before the law. In all cases, where the welfare of the child so requires, regard shall be had to the best interests of that child.
5. Against this backdrop, the then Taoiseach announced, on 3rd November, 2006 that a referendum on children’s position in the Constitution should take place.
6. The June 2007 Programme for Government includes a commitment to establish an all-party Committee to examine the proposed constitutional amendment with a view to further deepening consensus on this matter.
7. The Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children was established, under the chairmanship of Ms Mary O’Rourke TD, by resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas in November 2007. To view the terms of reference of the Committee please click here.
Work of the Committee
The JCCAC produced three reports ( click here to view reports) as follows:
- First interim report of JCCAC: Exchange of ‘Soft Information’
- Second interim report of the JCCAC: Proposal to give legal authority to create offences of absolute or strict liability in respect of sexual offences against or in connection with children
- Third and Final Report of the JCCAC on Family Law aspects of the Referendum