With polls closed, and counting now complete, the Irish people have voted to amend the Irish constitution by inserting Article 42A into the constitution. There was an exceptionally low turnout, and a very strong no vote. In the end, the total Yes vote was: 57.4% (615,731 votes) to the No vote: 42.6% (445,863 votes). This was on a turnout of just 33.5%.
The analysis over the coming days will no doubt turn to a number of core issues: lack of interest/participation amongst the public at large despite a well funded, well oiled Yes campaign; the limited nature of the amendment and the emergence of issues that had little to do with what the actual referendum was about. Fundamental issues relating to trust and political apparatuses of the State, conduct of referendum campaign by government, civil society organisations and individuals will also need to be issues up for debate. In terms of ‘what next?’, it is now the duty of the Oireachtas to ensure that the issues of children, child protection and children’s rights remain on the agenda.