Two referenda on the way in 2007?

Today the man at the centre of the ongoing IVF case in the High Court was told that he had the right to stop his estranged wife from using their embryo’s to get pregnant; the case will now move onto the constitutional side in which the woman claims that her embryo’s have a right to life under a 1983 amendement.

The reality is that amendment offers the state’s protection over the unborn; the definition of the unborn is not defined. As I stated before the failure of the Government to gain public approval for its proposed constitutional amendment in the 2002 referendum on abortion has meant that this gap has been left wide open; stem cell research is another aspect of modern medicine that will need clarification if it is to take place on these shores.

So the Government may indeed have to redefine the term unborn in the constitution through a referendum (and let’s not forget that pro-choice groups recently renewed their calls for another abortion referendum too).

A review body set up to look into the issue of statutory rape legislation is due to give its findings to the Dáil when it reconveens in September, one suggestion may be a referendum on that issue too.

So we may be facing two constitutional referenda on two seperate issues in 2007, and the chances are the Government will not be able to hold off on them until the General Election; especially not if an amendment on the aspect of statutory rape is put forward.


  1. “As I stated before the failure of the 2002 referendum on abortion has meant”

    By definition, the outcome of a referendum should not be predetermined, so the result in its self cannot be a failure. Of course, an outcome can results perceived failures, that however is another matter. Excuse me for being pedantic.


  2. Administrator 18/07/2006 at 12:57

    All pendants welcome!

    I did word that somewhat poorly; I’ll edit it now… what I should have said was “the failure of the Government to gain public approval for its amendment during the 2002 referendum…”


  3. They really don’t want a referendum deciding the next Government do they? They’ll totally twist out of having such a divisive one.


  4. Administrator 18/07/2006 at 14:50

    Well that’s the interesting thing; if the review on Statutory Rape recommends a referendum they’ll have a hard time shaking it off (especially if they want to show that they’re doing all they can and have done all they can to protect the public)… the unborn issue is probably easier to escape in the short-term, but that all depends on what goes on in the High Court (and possibly Supreme Court) over the coming weeks.


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