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Civil society coalition welcomes Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ support for Equality Referendum

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A coalition of five civil society organisations including the National Women’s Council (NWC), Treoir, One Family, Family Carers Ireland and SIPTU today (20th September) welcomed the support from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Congress) for the referendum on family, care and gender equality and the inclusion of wording that wouldsupport care in all of its forms, including care in wider community as well as in the home.

In its statement today, Congress said it “fully supports the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly that the wording on women should be replaced with a wording that recognises the value of care work in all of its forms.”

Responding to Congress’ statement, Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland said,

“We welcome this statement from Congress and reiterate our call on Government to publish the proposed wording for the equality referendum. Replacing the outdated and sexist reference to women in Article 41.2 of the Constitution with wording that recognises the societal value of care in the home and wider community and obliges the State to take reasonable measures to support carers presents us with an opportunity to finally have care in the home and community recognised, valued and resourced”.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council said,

“We really welcome the support from Congress for the upcoming equality referendum. Congress’ position highlights the broad public support for constitutional change. The upcoming referendum is our opportunity to remove limits on women’s roles from the Constitution and instead value care in all of its forms, in the home but also in the wider community. And it is our chance to reflect the reality of family life in Ireland.  We reiterate our call on the Government to publish the wording for the upcoming referendum in line with the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee report.”


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, NWC, Tel. 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie  or Catherine Hearn, NWC, Tel.  087 196 5300, catherineh@nwci.ie


About NWC  

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. 

This year we celebrate 50 years since our foundation with a special calendar of events and campaigns. 

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.  

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie.


About Treoir 

Treoir was founded in 1976 and is the national federation of services for unmarried parents and their families. Treoir along with its member agencies, promotes the rights and welfare of unmarried parents and their children and advocates on their behalf. Treoir recognises the diversity of Irish families and believes that all families, including non-marital families, should be valued equally and receive the same level of protection and support from the state. Treoir provides information to non-married parents on areas of family law, available supports for families, and supports for successful shared parenting. We endeavour to always look for ways to enhance our information provision and help families to realise their rights. www.treoir.ie/.

About Family Carers Ireland 

Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting the 500,000+ family carers across the country who care for loved ones such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges or addiction. It provides a range of services and supports for family carers through its Carer Support Centres nationwide and through its National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24. See www.familycarers.ie for more information. 

Our vision is an Ireland in which family carers and young carers are properly recognised, supported and empowered. Our mission is to highlight the contribution of family carers to Irish society and to improve the lives of family carers throughout the country. We believe that no one should have to care alone. 

About One Family 
One Family is Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. 

These services include the askonefamily national helpline on 01 662 9212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information visit: www.onefamily.ie 

About SIPTU:  

SIPTU is Ireland’s largest trade union representing over 180,000 workers from virtually every category of employment across almost every sector of the Irish economy. SIPTU is the representative body of Ireland’s care professionals including workers in healthcare, home care, elder care, childcare, intellectual disability, physical disability, community care and social care. www.siptu.ie