Press release

MEP Grace O’Sullivan calls for ‘Yes Yes Vote’ ahead of St. Brigid’s Day celebration of Irish women

31st January 2024

MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan has come out in strong support of the 8th March referendum to remove outdated language on women in Bunreacht na hÉireann, drawing particular attention to the link between St. Brigid’s Day and Irish officialdom’s relationship with Irish women over the decades.

The referendum aims to make the Constitution’s definition of family more inclusive while a second provision aims to remove outdated references to Irishwomen’s “life within the home” and condescending language on the “neglect” of women’s “duties in the home”.

Speaking from a St. Brigid’s Day event in Clonea, Co. Waterford, MEP O’Sullivan said:

“I’m hoping that all Irish people come out in support of Irishwomen for this referendum with a strong Yes Yes Vote. As a single mother and a carer it is particularly important to me. Single parent families, carers and people who choose not to marry should be cherished, supported and recognised by the basic law of our Constitution. This St. Brigid’s Day it is interesting to reflect on Ireland’s relationship with women, where once we celebrated St. Brigid as a passive, virginlike Saint, she now represents a powerful and ambitious force of nature who chose her own destiny and fought the powers-that-be of the time.”

Commenting on the reaction to the referendum in Europe, the MEP said:

“Certainly this language in our Constitution marks us as a conservative outlier in Europe. When we raise this issue with our colleagues in the EU, people are shocked to hear such outdated language remains in our Constitution. Next month the EU will send a delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. How can we tell other countries how to improve their policies towards women and girls when we have language like this in our Constitution?”

The UN Commission session on the Status of Women will be held from the 11th March, with a delegation sent by the European Parliament. The EU’s priorities for the session will be debated in the European Parliament on Thursday 8 February.

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