Parents’ Organisations Slam Misinformation on Children’s Referendum

Published date: 
31 Oct 2012

Mainstream parents’ organisations slam misinformation relating to the Children’s Referendum in Dublin today.  Urging all parents to vote YES in the Children’s Referendum on Saturday 10 November 2012, six parents’ organisations have come together to set the record straight. Chaired by Áine Lynch of the National Parents Council  Primary, the five other organisations are the Mothers’ Union (Olive Good);National Parents Council Post-Primary (Jackie O’Callaghan); One Family (Karen Kiernan); OPEN (Frances Byrne); and Treoir (Margot Doherty). 

These mainstream groups have come together to dismiss claims by individuals and small groups, purporting to represent parents, that the Children’s Referendum is an attack on family and parents’ rights.  Parents and families are central to a child’s life. Each of the organisations believe that this referendum will help empower parents to ensure that the State upholds their child’s rights and are calling on all parents to vote YES on Saturday 10 November 2012.

Speaking at the press conference, Áine Lynch of the National Parents Council Primary, says:“Affording children rights is not about diminishing the rights of parents or the family or indeed increasing the rights of the State. It is about society in Ireland making a statement of value about its children. The National Parents Council Primary urges people to get out and vote on November the 10th.  It is vital that, as a modern society, we give the strongest message possible that Ireland values its children.”

Olive Good, of Mother’s Union, says:“The Children’s referendum represents a positive step in the State’s willingness to prioritise children by protecting them and ensuring their rights.”  

Jackie O’Callaghan, of National Parents Council Post Primary, says: “The National Parents Council Post Primary is very pleased to support a YES vote in the forthcoming Children’s Referendum.  It is imperative that we now look to the future, learn from the mistakes of the past and safeguard our most precious resource: our children.”

Margot Doherty, of Treoir,says: “The Children’s Referendum, if passed, will mean that, for the first time, there will be a clear statement of children’s rights in the Irish Constitution.  Treoir believes that, inherent in these rights, are a child’s right to identity and to a relationship with boththeir parents.”

Frances Byrne, of OPEN, says: “The Children’s Referendum spellsout the State’s duty to safeguard the rights of all children and, critically, it establishes the same threshold of protection to all children, regardless of whether their parents are married or unmarried.”     

Karen Kiernan, of One Family, says: “We particularly want to welcome the proposed introduction of mandatory consultation with children in proceedings relating to them. Children are rarely consulted and there are no appropriate systems to do so. There are excellent models from other jurisdictions in how to appropriately hear children's voices in court in a way that is meaningful for the child and helpful for the judiciary and parents."

All six organisations are supportive of the Yes for Children campaign, which is led by Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance, the ISPCC and Campaign for Children.


For more information, please contact:

Carys Thomas, Communications Director, Children’s Rights Alliance

Tel:        087 7702845 / 01 6629400




Notes to Editor

·         Press conference will be held in Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, on Wednesday 31 October 2012 at 11am.

·         The participating organisations are as follows:

  1. National Parents Council Primary (NPC) is the nationwide organisation representing parents of children attending early and primary education.
  2. National Parents Council - Post-Primary (NPCpp) representing the parents of students in post-primary education, aims to promote issues of common concern to parents and to act as a partner in the formulation of policy for the post-primary formal education sector.
  3. One Family offers support and information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those working with one-parent families.
  4. Mothers' Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families of all faiths and none through practical outreach, prayer and advocating family friendly policies within both government and public life.
  5. OPEN is the national network of one parent families and works to build the capacity of one parent-led community groups through information, training and other supports.  It also seeks to influence policy development and implementation.
  6. Treoir is the National Specialist Information Service for unmarried parents and their children providing clear and up-to-date information free of charge to parents who are not married to each other and to those involved with them.

·         Photo opportunities, with ‘YES’ prop, will be available.

Six Key Parents' Organisations