Republic of Ireland news

Preparations continue for Republic's referendums on constitution references

Justice minister Charlie Flannagan. Picture by Mal McCann
Brendan Hughes

THE Irish government's justice minister was yesterday due to seek cabinet approval to hold a referendum on whether to remove a reference to 'women's place in the home' from the Republic's constitution.

Plans for the referendums on references including blasphemy were announced last year and are likely to be held on October 26.

The matter being brought before the cabinet is seen as the next step in the process, giving the justice department permission to press ahead with preparations.

The article at issue in the constitution reads: "In particular, the state recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

"The state shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to neglect of their duties in the home."

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan has already agreed to initiate a bill in the Dáil in the coming weeks for the blasphemy referendum.

The referendums will be held alongside the presidential election, if one is called.

Earlier this week, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald strongly hinted her party will put forward a candidate to contest the election.

It comes just days after former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern ruled himself out of running against incumbent Michael D Higgins.

Ms McDonald said the person occupying the "highest office in the land" ought to have "an electoral sanction and mandate behind them".

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