Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (143)

Gerry Adams


143. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will set out the referendums he plans to hold in the next two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5046/14]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Deputy will be aware that, arising from recommendations in reports of the Convention on the Constitution, the Government has already announced that it will bring forward proposals in 2015 for referendums on same-sex marriage, reducing the voting age to 16 and reducing the age of candidacy for Presidential elections to 21. In addition, the Government has referred to the relevant Oireachtas Committee the question of a constitutional amendment to give citizens a say in the nomination process for Presidential candidates. The Government has also undertaken to look at making Article 41.2 of the Constitution (on the role of women) gender-neutral, and at including other carers both in and beyond the home. It has also undertaken to look at amending the Constitution to include the principle of gender equality, as well as the use of gender-inclusive language in the Constitution.

Recommendations for amendments to the Constitution in the Convention's later reports are currently under consideration by the relevant Ministers and the Government will give its formal response on them in due course. Where the Government agrees to the holding of a referendum, it will give a proposed timeframe in its response. In addition, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation is currently examining the question of an amendment to the Constitution in relation to a Unified Patent Court, while the Minister for Justice and Equality is examining the question of an amendment to the Constitution to provide for a separate family court structure. Any proposals on these matters will be brought to Government when ready and the Government will announce any decisions on them in due course, including the timing of any referendums.