Waters on children’s referendum

John Waters (pictured) has a provocative column on the proposed children’s rights referendum in today’s Irish Times.

Among the useful points he raises is the fact that, while the State arrogates to itself the right to revise the proposed wording, in order to protect its right to make policy, it refuses to grant the right to question the referendum to others who seek to guard their own Constitutional rights.

Waters writes: “What is most remarkable, however, is that the State is now permitted to shelve or amend its own wording on the basis of arguments that amendment proponents have dismissed in the wider context of family rights. It is all right, it seems, for the State to insist on protecting its pool of powers and capacities, but if parents seek to do similarly they are “anti-children’s rights”.

“There are, of course, many other situations in which a change in the current balance of rights will have implications also for the workings of the State. I anticipate, therefore, further waning in official enthusiasm for extending total equality to children. What, for example, about a child who wishes to sue a social worker for destroying his or her right to a family life?”