The establishment of a constitutional convention was agreed in principle by the government last week. Among the matters the convention will consider will be a redefinition of marriage to include same sex couples. The convention was part of the deal between Fine Gael and the Labour Party in establishing their programme for government last year.
The publication of draft proposals on the form and scope of the convention is expected imminently. The government intends to consult with opposition parties and to seek their cooperation.
When the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition was established last March, the parties undertook to “establish a constitutional convention to consider comprehensive constitutional reform” which would report within 12 months. The convention would consider such issues as changes in the Dáil electoral system; reducing the presidential term from seven to five years; same-sex “marriage”; removing protection for women in the home; reducing the voting age to 17; letting emigrants vote in presidential elections.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said a citizens’ assembly drawn from the electoral register would be part of the constitutional convention. The proposal originally set out by the Labour Party in opposition was for 30 lawyers and constitutional experts; 30 members of the public chosen at random; and 30 active politicians who would not necessarily be members of the Oireachtas. But the programme for government did not specify any particular structure.
The Irish Times. February 22.
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