Third and Final Report of the JCCAC on Family Law aspects of the Referendum
The Final Report of the JCCAC, published in February 2010, deals with the rights of children under the Constitution, and the statute and case law concerning adoption, guardianship, care proceedings, custody and access to children. The Report includes a proposed wording for the Constitutional Amendment for Children. (See Appendix)
The then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr Barry Andrews TD presented a copy of the third and final report of the JCCAC to Cabinet in March 2010. The Cabinet decided that, in view of the complex nature of the issues involved, all Ministers and Government Departments as well as the Attorney General should consider the report and examine the implications of the proposed wording for their individual areas of responsibility.
Following the election of the Coalition Government the Programme for Government 2011 states that the referendum on Children’s Rights is a priority, and that the wording will be along the lines of that proposed by the All Party Oireachtas Committee.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs wrote to the Attorney General to ask whether, in her view, any unintended consequences in the drafting could be addressed in the draft wording being prepared for the consideration of government.
The Attorney expressed her view that, with careful drafting, a wording can be developed that would reflect the deliberations and conclusions of the Joint Committee and the commitment of the Programme for Government.
A draft wording is being prepared by the Office of the Attorney General in co-operation with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and there is on-going contact and meetings between officials of the Department and of the AG’s office in an effort to meet the Programme for Government commitment in relation to the wording.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs recently stated in the Dail in February 2012 that “ the Referendum on Children’s Rights is a Programme for Government priority. The Government recently endorsed the holding of this Referendum on a stand alone basis during the course of 2012………The precise timing of the Referendum on children's rights during 2012 is the subject of further consideration by Government. However, as I have previously stated, it is the intention of Government that the referendum will be held this year.”