One Family calls on Government to implement the Citizens Assembly’s recommendations

Responding to the announcement of the results of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality One Family, Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating, hailed the Citizens recommendations as transformational. It urged Government to act swiftly and set out a timetable for when the recommendations would be implemented.

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family said,

“The recommendations from the Citizens have the potential, if implemented, to transform the lives of one-parent families and end decades of discrimination and stigmatisation for families where parents are not married. We particularly welcome the call to address the definition of the family in the Constitution, a call we made in our submission to the Assembly. One Family has campaigned for this change for nearly 50 years and, if implemented, it will give non-marital families equal protection under the Constitution.”

“Article 41 of our Constitution has had a defining role in some of the most shameful chapters of the State’s history, facilitating the treatment of unmarried mothers and their children in various institutions.  A progressive review of Article 41, bringing it in line with the European Convention of Human Rights, would not only give all families equal protection but also give symbolic reparation to the thousands of unmarried mothers and their children mistreated in Ireland since the foundation of the State.”

We also welcome the call for changes to how children are cared for in Ireland, including; paid parental leave for the first year of life for all children and the introduction of a publicly funded, accessible and regulated model of quality of childcare together with an increase in State spending on childcare from its current level of 0.37 per cent of GDP to at least 1 per cent, in line with international best practice.  One Family has long been calling for these changes, which will have a profoundly positive effect on the lives of lone parents and their children.

Other positive recommendations from the Citizen’s Assembly include the call to move from system of minimum wage to a guaranteed living wage, ensuring social welfare payments support an adequate standard of living and addressing the specific needs of lone parents who are in receipt of social welfare payments with respect to education, employment and child care services.

We now call on the Government to set out a clear roadmap to implement the recommendations and call with others for a Constitutional referendum in 2022.

Read more about the Citizen’s Assembly on gender equality here.