Article 42A is a new section that was put into the Constitution in Ireland and regards the rights of the child. This essay will outline and discuss Article 42A of the Constitution, including an assessment of its potential to improve the lives of children in Ireland.
Before Article 42A was passed, children did have some rights under the Constitution, they were given some of the rights as other people living in Ireland, for instance the right to obtain residency (Articles 2 and 9) and in suitable situations, they are entitled to the Fundamental Rights set out in Articles 40 and 44 as well as some rights that are not recorded in the Constitution but they have been read into it by the Courts. As Well as these rights, there are two constitutional rights explicitly associated to children: the right to free primary education (Article 42.4) and the ability of the State to intervene when parents fail their child (Article 42.5)(Children’s Rights, 2012).
Article 41 of the Constitution identifies the rights of the family (based on marriage) (Cronin and Duggan et al., 2013, p 28-33) and identifies the state as the primary unit in society. The State promises to protect the family and guard the establishment of marriage, on which the family is established. According to the Supreme Court Article 41, which states the rights of the family, sees the family only based on marriage and therefore only the marital family is thus entitled to the protection and guarantee of Articles 41 and 42 (The Case for Constitutional Change, 2007). Article 42 declares that parents have an “inalienable right and duty … to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children”(Cronin and Duggan et al., 2013, p 28-33). It deals with the education and sees that the family is the main educator of the child. It also implies that the State shall attempt to provide the place of parents in extraordinary cases where the parents of the child fail in their physical and moral duty towards them. (The Case for Constitutional Change, 2007).
Nevertheless, there is an absence of child-specific rights within the constitution to tackle children’s needs that are set apart from the needs of adults. These are human rights for all children and young individuals under 18 years of age. They take into consideration the venerable position of children, in that they are mainly reliant on adults for their care are frequently powerless to defend their own rights.
The children’s referendum has the potential to be a turning point after the history of abuse known to numerous children in Ireland. Keeping children safe is best attained by developing a civilisation that completely respects children and forms their capability to defend themselves. A Society that respects children is one which pays attention to children, and values early involvement by dynamically supporting families.
The Children’s Referendum inserted a new article into the...