Family Carers Ireland supports amending the wording of the Constitution to ensure the work of family carers (male and female) in the home is recognised and valued.[26.09.2018] Representatives of Family Carers Ireland (CEO John Dunne and Head of Communications and Carer Engagement Catherine Cox) appeared before the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee today to call on members to support rewording Article 41.2 of the Constitution (referring to a woman’s place in the home) to a gender neutral phrasing.
The national charity, which advocates and provides a range of vital supports for Ireland’s 355,000 family carers, does not support the proposal for a simple repeal of the article. Family Carers Ireland believes that an overwhelming consensus in Ireland would support a constitutional provision which recognises the family’s primary role in the provision of care, the state’s responsibility to support families in this regard and also to act as the last resort provider where a family is unwilling or unable to provide care.
Simply deleting Article 41.2 has been described as the “pathway with the fewest risks” and the “safest way forward”. Family Carers Ireland argues that deliberately and publicly refusing to accept the contribution of family carers in the home constitutes a much greater risk to society and public policy in the medium term.
Family Carers Ireland supports and urges Government to accept the following rewording as per recommendations from the Constitution Review Group 1996:
“The state recognises that family life gives to society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The state shall endeavour to support persons caring for others within the home.”
Speaking today, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland Catherine Cox said:
“The proposal to delete Article 41.2 of the Constitution would send out an unintentional message that the state does not recognise or value the vital work of Ireland’s 355,000 family carers, both male and female, in the home. Today one in 10 people are required to provide care for a loved one at home. By 2030 this will be one in five. Now is the time to make the recognition and support for unpaid care in the home that is implicit in the current wording of the constitution explicit in the new wording.”
Family Carers Ireland provides a range of services for Family Carers through its 26 nationwide resource centres. The organisation is currently running its year-long ‘Carers in Crisis’ campaign to highlight a lack of resources across the country including home care, respite and the ‘postcode lottery’ of necessary services.