Saturday, November 04, 2006
Bertie Ahern, in advance of the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis today, has stated that he wants a referendum "to put the rights of children at the centre of the Constitution". A laudable intention, especially considering how our state has neglected and facilitated the abuse of ten thousands of children over the decades. But will it actually protect children at all? How many abused children are going to brandish their copy of Bunreacht na hÉireann, threatening legal redress in the courts and justice for what they have suffered? My crippling cynicism leads me to see this as one of Bertie's many gormless attempts at good PR - something which is largely unnecessary as the Plain People of Ireland appear unwilling to ever believe the worst of him anyway - rather than a sensible, even symbolic, move to guarantee protection for the nation's children. And there is also something to be said for not loading the Constitution down with clauses and amendments that are much better dealt with by legislation. We all know what mess the 8th amendment of 1983 has caused.