Press release

Green Party welcomes publication of 'ground-breaking' referendum wording on family and care

5th December 2023
Roderic O'Gorman

The Green Party has today welcomed Government proposals to modernise the Constitution, which will see outdated references to a woman's place in the home removed and replaced with recognition of care within the family.

The changes would make Ireland one of the first countries in the world to provide constitutional recognition of care, and follows the Green Party's long-standing support for such recognition. Previous attempts at changing the Constitution had proposed simple deletion of Article 41.2.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman said;

“Today’s approval by Cabinet for wording for two referendums, one on family and one on care, marks another key milestone on our journey towards becoming a more caring, inclusive society. On 8th March the people will be asked to vote on two questions: one to broaden the definition of family in the Constitution to include families not based on marriage, and one to remove the reference to women’s duties in the home from the Constitution, and replace it with a provision recognising the value of all forms of care in the family – one of the first countries in the world to do so.

After decades of deliberation, we are finally offering the people the opportunity to remove the archaic and sexist reference to women in the home, which has contributed nothing to the good of women’s lives in this country other than to limit their choices. A woman’s place is wherever she wants to be, in the workplace, in education, or in the home. The key is that women choose the role they play in Irish society, and not just take on one assigned to them by voices from the past. And while this updating of our Constitution is essential, it is also important that we don’t lose sight of the vital role that care and caring relationships play in knitting together the fabric of our society. It is long past time that we recognise the invaluable contribution that caring – the quiet dedication of so many family members around Ireland - provides to this country.”

The referendum will also see a broadening of the definition of 'family'. Currently under the Constitution, family is defined as "based on marriage". Under the proposed wording, this would be broadened to "marriage, or other durable relationships", recognising the diversity of family in Ireland today.

Welcoming the proposals, Senator Pauline O'Reilly said:

“I warmly welcome Cabinet’s approval today for the wording for the referendums on family and care. The need to remove the sexist language referring to women’s place in the home from the Constitution and replacing it with a provision that recognises the important to society of family and care has long been a Green Party priority, and I am delighted that a Green Party Minister has led on delivering this.

“As a former member of the Special Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality, I am pleased to see the wording that will provide for a more inclusive definition of the family in Constitution. This referendum is a historic opportunity to recognise that the State values the different forms that family takes in our country today. By voting Yes to this question the Irish people will send a message to children from all types of families that their families are cherished just as much as any other.”

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