Statement by Minister Flanagan regarding proposed referendum on Article 41.2
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has expressed his regret that the referendum proposal to delete Article 41.2 from the Constitution will not proceed on 26 October.
The decision by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality to schedule pre-legislative hearings means there will not now be sufficient time for Oireachtas consideration of legislation and for the Referendum Commission to do its work before a vote on 26 October.
Minister Flanagan stated:
“I very much regret that on the occasion of the centenary of women achieving the right to vote in Ireland, the Irish people will not have an opportunity to remove Article 41.2 from our Constitution. I believe the Article, which seeks to define where women belong in Ireland as being in the home carrying out duties, is not just sexist and reductive, but completely at odds with the Government’s gender equality policies.
“The Constitution doesn’t seek to define the place of men. I believe it should not seek to define the place of women. To me, this is a straightforward proposition and after many decades of inaction, the time has come for the people to exercise a view on the retention or removal of the Article.
“I note the outcome of today’s meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality. I am very disappointed that the referendum cannot now proceed on 26 October. However, I, Minister David Stanton, and our colleagues in Government will continue to work to advance gender equality and remove the structural and cultural barriers which discriminate against women in this country.
“I look forward to receiving the Committee’s recommendations in due course.”