Why I am voting Yes on Saturday

Due to work I cannot take part in Yes For Children’s Big Canvass today so here is my contribution.

For the second time this country is being asked to vote on a Saturday. This time it is on Children’s Rights. We are being asked if we want to delete the current Section 5 of Article 42 and replace it with a new Article 42A. See Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (Children) Bill 2012 (PDF)

This is an important amendment to the Irish Constitution. It will be the first time we will explicitly mentioning Children’s Rights in the Irish Constitution. This was first called for 20 years ago, so it is a long time coming.

This amendment is very important for the Children of Ireland. It will ensure that Children in long term care can be adopted. It will give the state more responsibility (NOT Power) towards the children of this country. It will ensure that Children’s best interest is put first and where appropriate the Child’s own wishes will have be taken into account for the first time by the courts.

This referendum on its own will not change a lot, but it will underpin a lot of the changes occurring at the moment. From the creation of the Child and Family Support Agency to the Children First Guidelines. And it will also give a statement of us as a people on how we want our children to be treated. It is for these reasons I am voting Yes. We have a poor record of looking after those who marginalised in this society and this is a way to start changing that. There are many other reasons to vote Yes. See YesForChildren.ie for more reasons!

See also Gregg Kelly’s piece on Spunout.ie for more reasons to vote Yes

This is one of the first referendum’s in the state where every major party and nearly every TD and Senator (bar one) is supporting. It has the unprecedented backing of chldren’s groups, parents groups, foster groups, various other NGO’s, Trade Unions, legal bodies and religious leaders. For the first time in any sort of election the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) has recommened that its members vote for this referendum.

I have yet to hear a good reason for a No Vote. Those against this referendum have mainly spurious arguments about Parental Rights (which the Conference of Catholic Bishops say is false), forced adoption (never going to happen), vaccinations (also not going happen), birth control (not a hope) and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (your seriously scrapping the barrel here).

Saturday will be an important vote for another reason no matter what your view on this referendum. It will be about whether or not we as a country will bother to vote on Saturday. So for that reason it is important that between 9am and 10pm you go out and vote.

Its your Constitution, Your Decision, Your Vote! So Vote!

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Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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