Fianna Fáil has warned that the Government may not be able to rely on it support for its proposed children's rights referendum after spokesman for children Robert Troy said it is “totally unacceptable that the Government has allowed the summer to pass without publishing the wording of the referendum on children’s rights”.
And he warned that while Fianna Fáil wanted to give its full support to the Government's referendum, it could not do so “blindly”.
Mr Troy said that a rushed referendum campaign would be “riddled with problems and risks being hijacked by other issues”, The Irish Times reports.
He was “genuinely fearful of a recurrence of what happened last October”, when the referendum on giving Oireachtas committees strong powers of investigation was lost.
No date for the children’s rights referendum has been announced, but the Government has insisted it will take place this autumn. It will be a prominent agenda item when the Cabinet meets on September 4th.
With the Dáil resuming on September 18th, the polling date could be set for late October, but the Cabinet may decide to opt for November.
Legislation providing for an amendment to the Constitution must pass through all stages in the Oireachtas before Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan can make an order setting polling day date. The Referendum act 1994 states “the polling day shall be not less than 30 days and not more than 90 days after the date of the order”.
Because the budget is announced in December, the Government traditionally tries to keep that month clear of other large-scale matters.
Related legislation on adoption is expected to be published along with the referendum wording.