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Lead up to referendums ‘appalling process’

Independent Senator Ronan Mullen has criticised what he said is the “appalling process” leading up to the two separate referendums on the family and care.

However, Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman said the referendums, taking place on 8 March, will give people a chance to update the Constitution to reflect “current-day” values.

They were speaking at a forum hosted by the Law Society of Ireland.

The referendums will ask voters if they want to replace the reference in the Constitution on the role of women in the home and replace it with new words recognising the care provided by families.

There will also be a question on expanding the definition of family which will say families can be founded on marriage or other durable relationships

At a debate, Senator Mullen said there is a “whole ideological agenda at work”.

He said the Government has emerged with a set of proposals that are unrecognisable from the recommendations made by the Citizens Assembly.

However, Chair of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality Catherine Day said that while the wording stops short of what was recommended, it “does go very far in terms of what the citizens had asked for”.

Minister O’Gorman said the Government spent nine months deliberating on the wording.

He added the proposals would enhance the rights of many without diminishing the rights of others.

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