Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Conor O'Mahony
2019 Unknown
The Oxford Handbook of Children and the Law
The Promise and Pitfalls of Constitutionalizing Children’s Rights
Oxford University Press
Optional Fields
Constitutional law; children's rights
In November 2012, the Irish people voted to insert into the Irish Constitution a new provision titled Article 42A: Children, affirming “the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children” and setting forth standards of decision-making in matters concerning children’s protection and welfare. This constitutional amendment marked the culmination of a twenty-year campaign for the constitutional recognition of children’s rights, driven in large part by a body of opinion that held that the Constitution overemphasized the rights of parents and the family unit to the detriment of the rights of individual children within the family. Campaigners hailed the outcome of the referendum as a historic day for children in Ireland, but academic opinion has been more cautious about the true impact and potential of the final version of the provision. This paper will examine the lessons of the Irish experience by first exploring the reasons why children’s rights might be constitutionalized. It will then proceed to examine the background to the Irish amendment, before drawing some conclusions on its impact and on what can be learned from the Irish experience about the value and limitations of constitutional change as a vehicle for advancing children’s rights.
James G Dwyer
Grant Details