The referendum planned for the autumn to alter or delete the clause in the Constitution on the role of women in the home, (41.2.2) may be deferred to 2019 and in its place a referendum to reduce divorce waiting times may be brought forward.
Leo Varadkar’s government is planning several referenda in the coming years to coincide with elections – the Presidential election in autumn 2018 and Local and European elections in 2019.
Referendums on removing the crime of Blasphemy from the Constitution and amending or deleting article 41.2.2 (women in the home) were to occur in October, but this hit an obstacle when the Oireachtas business committee called for pre-legislative scrutiny on the women in the home referendum bill. This is due to take place in September.
Last week a government source said Minister Josepha Madigan intended to raise the possibility of bringing forward the divorce referendum to the autumn. Currently a couple seeking to divorce must have lived apart for four of the previous five years. The vote would be to reduce this waiting period.
Article 41.2.2 recognises the “that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved”.