Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has asked voters to back the ‘yes’ vote in Friday’s two referenda on families, arguing that yes votes will bring about “overdue and very welcome” constitutional changes.

The Minister stated that he has received clarification on areas of concern with constitutional changes the family referendum could bring about from Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman.

Current laws around succession and inheritance will remain unchanged, according to Minister McConalogue.

“These referendums are seeking to recognise a wider concept of the family that is not solely based on marriage, while at the same time continuing to protect the institution of marriage,” he said.

“Listening to the concerns of farmers, I sought clarification from my colleague Minister Roderick O’Gorman and was assured that Irish law on succession is set out in legislation and rights to inherit property are conferred on people by these statutes and not by any provision of the constitution.

Rules the same

“The family amendment does not alter or amend these laws in any way and all family taxation and succession law and rules will remain the same if these amendments are adopted.”

The vote will take place on International Women’s Day, which Minister McConalogue commented is an opportunity to “drive gender balance” in the agri-food sector.

“Progress is evident in terms of improved participation and opportunities for women in the agri-food sector, but change is not happening fast enough,” he said.

The Minister listed the 60% rate of grant aid under the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes III and the national dialogue on women in agriculture as evidence of his Department supporting women.

Updating constitution

“The referendums on 8 March will afford the electorate and the farming community an opportunity to update and modernise our constitution,” the Minister continued.

“The Ireland of today is one which aspires to see women and men enjoy equity, in the home, in the workplace and in society and this now needs to be reflected in our constitution.

“We are proposing to update our constitutional wording to remove any doubt about it – a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be,” he said.