Treoir launches campaign for ‘Yes’ votes in Family and Care Referendums

Amendments will embed greater equality for families

Child and Family support organisation Treoir launched a public campaign to support ‘Yes’ votes in the two upcoming referendums on family and care.

The referendums will take place on March 8th – and Treoir called on the public to get informed, to make sure they are registered – and to support both amendments in favour of greater family and gender equality.

The ‘family’ referendum asks if Ireland’s Constitution should be expanded to include families where there are long lasting relationships in place, rather than being based solely on marriage.

The ‘care’ referendum asks about changing the description of care in families from it being the role of women and mothers, to that of family members irrespective of gender.

To vote citizens must be registered by February 20 and this can be checked at www.checktheregister.ie

Speaking at today’s campaign launch Treoir CEO Damien Peelo said: “Treoir is working together with a platform – including the National Women's Council, One Family, Family Carers Ireland, Independent Living Movement Ireland, SIPTU, Oxfam, USI, Care Alliance, European Anti-Poverty Network, Doras Buí, SPARK, Irish Women’s Lawyers Association – to support positive social progress through a Yes / Yes vote.

“If both votes are carried there will still be a lot of work needed to implement better equality, but we believe the State would be in a better position to do so, as it would be embedded in the Constitution, together with a public mandate to prioritise diversity in Irish family life and care.”

“Cohabiting Couples with or without children and lone parent families would have Constitutional acknowledgement as a family unit. Also fathers and Kinship Carers would be protected in the role they play in care in the family.”

Mr Peelo outlined the following reasons for Treoir’s supporting yes / yes votes:

  • “The amendment would embed equality for different family types into the Constitution
  • Cohabiting couples with or without children would get more recognition, rights and protection
  • It would persuade and advocate future Governments to do more to support one-parent families, blended families, families sharing parenting, Kinship Care families and young parents
  • It would help to destigmatise one-parent families.
  • It would remove sexist language and recognise care done by fathers and Kinship Carers.”

The event was also attended by a panel of citizens representing different perspectives giving their support to ‘Yes’ votes. These included: a Cohabiting Couple with Children, a Cohabiting Couple without children, a Kinship Care family, a lone parent family and a father.

John O'Meara, won recently won a case in the Supreme Court for cohabiting couples with children to be entitled to the Widow/Widower's Pension, urged citizens to support two yes votes and highlighted the importance of the referendum for all families.

“These referendums are about being treated equally, as the State still treats families unequally. There is a massive gap for cohabiting couples and lone parents, and they need protection. The referendum is also is also really important for women.”

Treoir hosts two other programmes, Kinship Care Ireland and Teen Parent Support Programme who are also campaigning for a Yes/Yes as they see it as promoting greater equality for all families.

Key Statistics on Families in Ireland:

  • 150,000 cohabiting couples
  • 75,000 cohabiting couples with children
  • 18% of families are one-parent families
  • 80% of one-parent families were headed by women (20% by men)
  • Estimate of 10,000-12,000 children in Kinship Care families
  • Estimate of 500,000 ‘family carers’ (not Kinship Carers)
  • 40% of births are outside of marriage
  • 40% of families are non-marital.

The platform for Yes/Yes has launched an information website here: https://www.yesyes.ie/

Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.

Treoir

Treoir is the National 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. www.treoir.ie

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