The wording of the long-anticipated Children’s Referendum was finally released at 11.30am on September 19th 2012. The exact wording, which appears on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is as follows:
Proposed New Article 42A
1. The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2. 1° In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
2° Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.
3. Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
4. 1° Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings –
i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or
ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
2° Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1° of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.
(See here for the wording ‘as Gaeilge’.)
The Referendum itself will take place on Saturday November 10th 2012. If passed, the wording will be inserted into the Irish Constitution as Article 42A. Information leaflets will shortly distributed to households across the Republic.
What are your initial reactions to the wording?