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Upcoming referendums ‘complex’ says Commission chair

The chair of the independent Electoral Commission has said the 8 March referendums on family and care are “complex”.

Ms Justice Marie Baker was speaking at the launch of a countrywide information campaign, with a booklet of what precisely is being asked to be sent to 2.3 million households.

Campaigns for the referendums on family and care are now officially under way, after the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien signed the order appointing 8 March as polling day.

It comes more than two years after being recommended by the Citizens Assembly and following many delays.

There will be two separate questions put to the people, on family and care.

A view of the booklet due to be sent out to every household

Voters will be asked whether or not they want to delete Article 41.2 of the Constitution which references woman’s life within the home and mothers’ duties within the home, to replace it with gender neutral language which would say the state recognises care by members of a family to one another, by reason of the bonds that exist between them.

The other question is whether to change Article 41.1 which recognises the family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group in society.

The proposed amendment would state the family is founded on marriage, or other durable relationships.

Despite misgivings about the wording, the Social Democrats, People Before Profit, and the Labour Party are now on board in supporting a Yes Yes vote.

Sinn Féin’s Eoin O’Broin has said it is his understanding that the party will be supporting a Yes, although it has not yet formally taken a position.

Read more:
Explained: What will people vote on in twin referendums?

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