Ireland begins constitutional convention

Ireland has launched a year-long constitutional convention. A group of 100 elected officials and private citizens will review the 1937 constitution with an eye toward considering changes in these key areas:

  • Reduction of the Presidential term of office to five years and the alignment with local and European elections;
  • Reduction of the voting age to 17;
  • Review of the Dáil electoral system;
  • Irish citizens’ right to vote at Irish Embassies in Presidential elections;
  • Provisions for same-sex marriage;
  • Amendment to the clause on the role of women in the home and encouraging greater participation of women in public life;
  • Increasing the participation of women in politics; and
  • Removal of the offence of Blasphemy from the Constitution.

The endeavor is drawing criticism for allowing the 66 private citizen delegates to remain anonymous, ostensibly to protect them from being lobbied by special interests and hounded by media. The Irish Voice has editorialized the panel does not include any members of the Irish diaspora.

The panel does included members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, though representatives of the two largest unionist parties have declined to attend.

The consideration of same-sex marriage, changes in the role of women and removal of blasphemy make clear the Roman Catholic Church will not have same impact on this convention as in 1937. Here’s the homepage for the constitutional convention.