Dr Laura Cahillane (School of Law) was invited to address the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on 19th September as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny of the general scheme of the 38th Amendment of the Constitution Bill on the woman in the home provision of the Constitution.
Article 41.2 reads: “The State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”
Dr Cahillane said of Article 41.2:
“This was a major downfall of the current provision – it was never clear whether it was intended to be purely symbolic or whether concrete rights flow from it and because it was never really challenged from that perspective in the courts, it has been effectively useless in law.”
She added that is is “an embarrassment that in this day and age such insulting language appears in our Constitution”.
Dr Cahillane was joined by the Irish Human Rights Commission and the National Women’s Council of Ireland in making contributions. Dr Cahillane’s comments were reported afterwards in the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner, thejournal.ie and on rte.ie.
Watch the video of the proceedings here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/video-archive/committees/1899/