Buttimer welcomes commitment that Children’s Referendum to be held this year
Referendum to be a stand-alone one, considering only children’s issue
Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has today (Thursday) welcomed the commitment from the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, that the Children’s Referendum will be held this year. The Deputy, who was speaking following a Committee meeting attended by the Minister, said the news that the Referendum will be a stand-alone one, dealing only with this issue, is extremely positive.
“I welcome the Minister’s commitment today that the Children’s Referendum is to be held this year. Furthermore, her assurance that the issue will be dealt with in isolation and will not be considered in tandem with other constitutional issues will ensure that the issue is afforded the attention it deserves.
“The Children’s Referendum will deal with a complex issue and the need to get it right is imperative. We are presented with an historic opportunity to copper fasten the rights of the child within the constitution and we must ensure we do the best job possible.
“Ensuring adequate lead-in time is given in the run-up to the Referendum is crucial, as is guaranteeing proper consultation with all stakeholders. Information must be clearly communicated to the public to ensure that the issue is easily understood and that the electorate knows exactly what it is being asked.
“I would like to commend the Minister on her approach to her work to date. Since coming to office, the Government has put children’s rights at the top of the agenda by establishing a full Department of Children for the first time ever.
“Progress is being made on putting the Children First Guidelines on a statutory footing. The Department of Children, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Equality, has also published the National Vetting Bureau Bill and two pilot projects involving out-of-hours social work services are up-and-running with a view to informing the future development of out-of-hours social work services.
“It is incumbent upon us all to ensure children’s rights are protected and enshrined constitutionally. I am delighted that the Referendum will be held this year and that it will be given our full and undivided attention.”