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!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Children’s Rights Referendum, Saturday November 10th

An Toaiseach Enda Kenny has announced that the Children’s Rights Referendum will take place on Saturday November 10th.

More details, including who will chair the referendum commission, will be announced tomorrow following the briefing of opposition leaders.

This will be the second referendum to be held on a Saturday. The first one was the second Nice Treaty referendum.

We have waited a long time for this referendum and while we still await the exact wording, the announcement of a date for the referendum is an important step. We can now, hopefully, look forward to a day when Children’s rights will be included in Bunreacht na hEireann

Enhanced by Zemanta

30th Amendment to Constitution – Text

A lunchtime protest by dislocated workers was ...

The Bill amending the Constitution to allow Ireland to ratify the Fiscal Compact is now available on the Oireachtas Website (PDF).

The bill proposes inserting a new sub-section 10 to Article 29 which deals with foreign affairs. The new section will read as follows:

10° The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Coordination andGovernance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.

The Dáil will debate the amendment starting on Wednesday as it rushes to pass the amendment ahead of the referendum on May 31st. Once the Amendment has cleared all stages in the Dáil and Seanad a Referendum Commission will then be established.

Text of the current Constitution (PDF). Correct as of March 2010, not including the 29th Amendment approved by Referendum last October.

The Dáil must vote on the Bailout

This is a photograph of the Dáil chamber, Lein...
Image via Wikipedia

Charlie Flanagan TD has flagged up an interesting article in Bunreacht na hEireann on Facebook which could cause a headache for the Government.

The Constitution in Article 29.5.2 states

The State shall not be bound by any international agreement involving a charge upon public funds unless the terms of the agreement shall have been approved by Dáil Éireann.

This will lead to a few interesting days in the Dáil chamber. The Bailout cannot be drawn down on without the Dáil supporting the bailout. That means the Government will have to try and get that passed. Will they do it before the Budget? Will all the Government TD’s vote for the Bailout?

The Government may try and weasel out of a vote using Article 29.5.3 which states

This section shall not apply to agreements or conventions of a technical and adminstrative character.

But I don’t think the Attorney General or the Courts would support that decision.

So who is going to lobby their TD on this bailout?

Enhanced by Zemanta

20 Reasons to Vote Yes to Lisbon

I got sent this list the other day, but due to events I am only posting it now. They are under a few caetgories and are linked!

Democracy:
I’m voting YES because Lisbon will give more power to the MEPs that I elect. (Articles 14 and 294)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because I like the idea that when all of our governments meet and discuss things that affect me, they should do it in the open (Article 16.8)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because the citizens’ Initiative means that the things that I care about are put on the agenda- and I don’t have to wait for the politicians to act (Article 11.4) – More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because the chair of the council having 2 ½ year rather than a 6 month term is just common sense as far as I can see (Article 15.5)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I’m voting YES because I believe that the European Union should be a community built on values, as well as an economic trading block. And the promotion of democracy and human rights are pretty good values. (Article 3)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

The Charter of Fundamental Rights gives me rights on a European level, as well as having them in the Irish constitution. And I like rights. Vote YES (Article 6)- More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2 – More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

I don’t always like the TD’s- but I definitely like them having more say about European legislation (Article 12 and Protocol 1 Article 4). Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/24iwh2

Crime:

I’m voting YES because I can’t believe that human trafficking still happens, and I want to use my vote to stop it (Articles 79, 83 & 87) – More info: http://short.ie/9v298u

I’m voting YES because I’ve seen the effects of drug smuggling on this country, and I know that stopping the smugglers is the best way to deal with it. (Article 83) – More info: http://short.ie/9v298u

Energy and Climate Change:

I’m voting YES because anyone with half a brain can see that countries HAVE TO work together if we are serious about fighting climate change (Article 191) – More info: http://short.ie/wxbofu

I’m voting YES because I think that if we negotiate our gas deals together, we get a better price- and heating my house doesn’t cost so much (article 194) – More info: http://short.ie/wxbofu

I’m voting YES because I want to support Irish Universities and Innovation- and the new European Research area will do just that (Articles 179 and 180) – More info: http://short.ie/wxbofu

EU In the World:

I’m voting YES because I was proud to see the EU saving lives on our peacekeeping mission in Chad- and if another crisis occurs, I’ll be proud to see them do it again (Articles 42, 43 and 214) – More info: http://short.ie/p4ibj2

I’m voting YES because the Palestinian ambassador to the EU said that a more “politically effective” EU would support peace in her country. And I am for peace in the Middle East (Article 18) – More info: http://short.ie/p4ibj2

I’m voting YES because the new High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy will be a voice for peace and justice in the world (Article 18). Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/p4ibj2

General:

I know that for a small state like ours, having our own Commissioner is really important. Vote YES. (December Council Decision) – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

I’m voting YES because giving sport a legal basis in the EU matters, as it means more funding for local sports teams and facilities. (Article 165) Vote Yes. – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

Cóir want me to vote NO. As do Sinn Féin, UKIP, and a whole load of other crazy people. I know they don’t care about the same things I do. Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

I’m not conveniently ignoring the fact that the legally binding guarantees are legally binding. Vote YES – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

I suffer from a terrible bullshit allergy. Vote YES (article 5 what the EU can/cannot do) – More info: http://short.ie/voteyes

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Illegal in Ireland: Blasphemy

Picture of Christ Church Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Image via Wikipedia

Well it has happened. The President has signed the Defamation Bill into law today which means in Ireland you can now be prosecuted for blasphemy. Yes that is right, in this Ireland of the 21st Century I can no longer complain about God, Jehovah, Allah, The Flying Spagetti Monster, or any other deity in case I get prosecuted for the crime of blasphemous libel.

Now while I am a church going person (Church of Ireland), with a healthy respect for himself upstairs, I don’t he (or any other deity) is going to be too upset if an unbeliever blasphemes against him (or her or them). Are priest now going to have to be very careful with what they say in their sermons if they mention another religion.

Its crazy that in this day and age I have to be very careful in what I type, say, tweet or what ever in case someone takes offense in what I say and decides to try and bring a prosecution against me.

Its a bollocks to be honest. I agree with my Bishop, its time to take Blasphemy out of the Irish Constitution!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The 30th Anniversary of the 7th Amendment

Copies of the constitution are published by th...Image via WikipediaNext year sees the 30th Anniversary of the Seventh Amendment to the Irish Constitution. The Amendment was approved by referendum on 5 July 1979 and signed into law on the 3 August of the same year. A whopping 92.4% of the electorate voted for the amendment, yet to this day it remains inacted. The seventh amendment allowed for changes in the how the Seanad University Seats were filled and allowed for graduates of other institutions of higher education to vote for the Seanad.

The text of Article 18.4 of the Irish Constitution after the passing of the Seventh Amendment is as follows (new text is in bold):

1. The elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be elected as follows:

i. Three shall be elected by the National University of Ireland.
ii. Three shall be elected by the University of Dublin.
iii. Forty-three shall be elected from panels of candidates constituted as hereinafter provided.

2. Provision may be made by law for the election, on a franchise and in the manner to be provided by law, by one or more of the following institutions, namely:

i. the universities mentioned in subsection 1 of this section,
ii. any other institutions of higher education in the State, of so many members of Seanad Éireann as may be fixed by law in substitution for an equal number of the members to be elected pursuant to paragraphs i and ii of the said subsection 1.

A member or members of Seanad Éireann may be elected under this subsection by institutions grouped together or by a single institution.

3. Nothing in this Article shall be invoked to prohibit the dissolution by law of a university mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.

In its 30 years in the Constitution no Government has taken up on this amendment and passed a law to expand the franchise beyond TCD and the NUI Universities. Which is unusual.

The reason I blog about this is that I recently came across a Facebook group “Seanad Reform – After 30 years can we have our votes now?” calling for the franchise to be expanded. Will the current Government expand the vote to IT’s and UL? I doubt it, but I think it is something that should be looked at in terms of reform of the Seanad without having to have a referendum on it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]