The Taoiseach has given worrying indications in the Dáil that his Government is set to break its promise again on holding a Referendum on Children’s Rights. He was questioned by Fianna Fáil Children’s Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue who asked for a broad time-frame for when the Referendum will be held.
The Donegal North East Deputy explained, “The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald announced three weeks ago that the Government will hold a stand-alone Referendum on Children’s Rights this year. When I questioned the Taoiseach about this in Dáil, he was extremely vague and non-committal.
“I didn’t ask him for a specific date, just a broad time frame, given Minister Fitzgerald has commitment to holding it this year. He said no time-frame has been fixed, and nothing will be done unless everything is in order to do it properly.
“I understand the importance of getting this right. It is a complex issue that deserves the utmost attention to detail. But it also deserves the utmost priority. During the general election campaign, Fine Gael promised that there would be a Children’s Referendum within the first 12 months in office. This never happened. After getting into power, they indicated that the Children’s Referendum would be held alongside the Presidential election. This never happened. They now say it will take place this year, but we are nearly three months into 2012 and they won’t commit to a broad time-frame.
“I am asking Minister Fitzgerald to bring some clarity this. This has been kicked down the road time and time again, with the Government prioritising other issues instead. This coalition has so far attempted to rely on the their establishment of a Department of Children as evidence enough that children’s rights is a priority for them. This is not good enough – it’s time for real action.”