Low turnout as Ireland votes to improve children’s rights

Ireland has voted to amend its constitution to improve children’s rights, giving the state greater powers to intervene in cases of abuse and neglect, results showed Sunday.
Saturday’s referendum passed but not by the expected landslide, with a victory margin of just 169,868 votes, or 58 percent to 42.
The referendum, only the second to be held on a Saturday, had the lowest turnout for 16 years with just 33.5 percent of the electorate casting their vote. Prime Minister Enda Kenny said it was a historic day for children in Ireland.
“It is the first time the constitution of this republic will recognise (children) as citizens in their own right,” he said. “The passing of this amendment will help make childhood a good, secure and loving space for all our children.
“It will also give hope, reassurance and confidence to parents, foster parents and vulnerable children,” he added. It follows Dublin’s commitment to introduce a change to the constitution after a series of high-profile child abuse cases before the Irish courts in recent years.
The rights of individual children will now be recognised, allowing the courts to make decisions on a case-by-case basis and allowing the state to intervene earlier in cases of neglect.
Prior to this, the right of the family unit, especially the mother, was given priority.
The final days of campaigning were mired in controversy after the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the government’s information booklet — distributed to homes nationwide — was biased towards a “yes” vote.
Kenny’s government apologised but resisted calls from no campaigners to postpone the vote.
The no camp could potentially lodge an appeal against the result after the Supreme Court ruling.



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