Message from Party Leader - February 2024

I hope that you are well and have been enjoying the first signs of Spring. As the days get lighter, I’m looking forward to even more opportunities to join in the great national canvassing effort for all of our fantastic local and European candidates across the country.
Ivana Bacik TD

Earlier this month, I was delighted to launch the Labour Party’s campaign calling for a Yes-Yes vote in the forthcoming Family and Care referendums on 8th March, alongside Senator Marie Sherlock, our director of elections for the referendums. You can watch a video from the launch here.

We know that the current language in our Constitution does not reflect the many types of families in today’s Ireland. The narrow definition of family has caused much hurt over many decades and has been used to exclude people from State supports. The proposed constitutional amendment on family is the result of campaigning over many years by organisations such as One Family and by the Labour Party, who have sought to broaden the definition of family in the Constitution. This referendum is about inclusion and about making sure that every type of family is given the constitutional recognition they deserve.

On care, it’s no secret that we in the Labour Party believe that the government’s proposal is a missed opportunity to make a comprehensive commitment on care. We were disappointed to see a proposal from the government that is different to the wording recommended by the Citizen’s Assembly and the Oireachtas Gender Equality Committee, of which I was the Chairperson. While this amendment is very welcome in offering a significant opportunity to remove the explicitly sexist text referring to women and mothers as having lives and duties in the home, it does not go far enough in its commitment on care.

Nonetheless, we are the Party that understands the importance of progress over perfection. While we believe that the amendment could go further, it will represent a significant step towards recognising the almost 300,000 unpaid carers across our communities who provide care day in, day out with little or no support. Crucially, the proposed amendment states that the State will strive to support the provision of care within the family. We in Labour will use this amendment, if passed, to fight for better supports and rights for those who provide and receive care in and outside the home – so really we are calling for a Yes Yes ‘And’ vote.

Labour has a clear vision for a radical model of care that supports all citizens, from cradle to grave. You can read more about this in my recent Op Ed in the Sunday Independent, where I also outline our reasons for voting Yes-Yes. We have a vision for a welfare state that prioritises care, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their background, receives the support they need. This referendum presents an opportunity from which we can build a fairer and more compassionate society for all.

Over the course of the campaign, I know Labour are linking in with local civil society groups and running their own canvasses to ensure a double YES on 8th March. Let’s seize this opportunity to modernise our Constitution – for today’s Ireland. Together, let’s build a future where care is valued, families are recognised, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Finally, March also marks the month of our annual party conference, which this year will be held in the Helix in Dublin City University over 23-24th March. This Conference will provide an opportunity for us all to come together and discuss our plans for this important election year. Together, we will be setting out our Labour values of equality, solidarity and fairness and sharing how a Labour perspective, on work, climate, care and housing is essential to achieving a better and more equal Ireland.

I look forward to seeing you all at conference and on the campaign trail over the coming months.

In solidarity,

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