Irish Referendum 'Chaos' Slammed

The Irish government's plot to use two referendums to undermine family values in the once-Catholic country have come under fire from a veteran politician. Senator Michael McDowell SC has slammed the legal mess that could arise from voting in proposed changes to the Constitution.

The former Tánaiste and Attorney General, has called for a No vote in both referendums. In an article for The Irish Times he explained that the two referendums are unnecessary.

He was particularly scathing about tinkering with a key clause on the family to add the PC words “other durable relationships” alongside marriage. He described this as “a recipe for chaos and uncertainty”.

On 8th March, Ireland will be asked to vote in two referendums on changing the Constitution.

The first, on family, places “other durable relationships” on an equal footing with marriage. But no definition of “durable relationships” is provided, with the Chairwoman of the Electoral Commission, Judge Marie Baker, mischievously suggesting that it could include people who receive joint Christmas cards and wedding invitations.

The second, addressing ‘care’, removes protection for mothers who wish to care for their children at home.

Snr McDowell served as Attorney General of Ireland from 1999 to 2002.

He warned that the ‘care’ amendment would “delete provisions of the Constitution which have in the past been relied on by the Supreme Court”.

The former Attorney General gave examples of them invalidating “income tax laws that were discriminatory against married people and in holding that husbands with adequate means could not demand that mothers be obliged to work outside the home where it was their choice to look after their children”.

But his greatest criticism was reserved for the proposal to twist the constitutional meaning of family.

“This is a recipe for chaos and uncertainty arising from the Government’s proposal to ascribe to the courts the function of defining what is meant by ‘other durable relationships’.

“We are being asked to redefine the family so as to allow its meaning to be decided in future cases where disputes between parties are brought before the courts.”

“it is hard to imagine precisely how the courts are to interpret the proposed amendment in any rational way”, adding: “Dissolving the legal concept of the family in a veritable soup based on litigation outcomes in hard cases is neither necessary nor advisable”.

The veteran politician and respected lawyer concluded: “The bottom line is that these referendums are not necessary to achieve any policy goal; they bring damaging and costly uncertainty into whole swathes of law, from pensions, family law, tax law, migration law, residence law and succession law – to name but a few”.

The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly commented: “The two referendums seek to introduce seismic changes to the Irish Constitution.

“Together, they undermine marriage and remove protections for mothers who wish to care for their children at home.

“Indeed, they remove the only reference to ‘mothers’ in the Constitution, devaluing their unique and essential role in society.”