I note the Taoiseach's final comment that the parties in government are working well. I remind him of what the chairman of the party with which he is in government, Senator Dan Boyle, said:
There are too many unresolved issues. Too many policy errors remain that have not been admitted to, areas where responsibility has not been taken. The policy of pump-priming the property boom has been a disaster. The light-touch regulation of our financial institutions has been a disaster.
The programme for Government contains over 500 commitments. The response prepared for the Taoiseach states that this was predicated on 4.5% growth before the global recession.
This country is now consumed by the findings of the Ryan commission report into child abuse. It is on everybody's lips and the litany of shame that has gone on far too long does us down as a nation. I have listened to some horrific stories in the past few days. Any parent who looks at a child and thinks of what might have happened thinks: "There but for the grace of God go I." It goes through me and I cannot speak with the emotional power or emotional truth of those who have been in the public media recently, telling their stories. I admire their courage and salute them.
This question concerns the programme for Government. When the Taoiseach was the Minister for Finance he negotiated with the Green Party a programme for Government which includes, on page 48, a firm resolution to have a constitutional amendment on children's rights. This is not a grossly excessive, costly exercise; it is entirely within the remit of the Government. The all-party committee did useful work and produced a minority report. What is the Government's view on the firm commitment given on holding a referendum on children's rights? The programme states:
We believe the fundamental law of our land should fully reflect our commitment to value and protect childhood. That is why we have proposed the inclusion in our Constitution of a new dedicated Article on Children.
I know the response from different parties and I want to know the Government's response. Is the Taoiseach, as head of the Government, standing over a firm commitment to have a referendum on children's rights? This is entirely within the control of the Government, given this very sensitive, personal and traumatic time in our nation's history. I would like to hear the Taoiseach tell me now that the Government intends to hold a referendum on children's rights, as is included in the programme for Government. What is the Government's position on the matter?