Family Carers Ireland Launches 'YesYes' Campaign for Historic Care Referendum

Posted on Thursday 18 January 2024


Pictured at the launch of Family Carers Ireland's 'YesYes' campaign are Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland and family carer Tracy Carroll with her beautiful seven-year-old daughter Willow. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

Family Carers Ireland has launched its 'YesYes' campaign for the upcoming historic referendum on care and family. This vote, set for March 8th, seeks to amend the Irish Constitution to recognise the invaluable contribution of family carers to society and the State's role in supporting this. It will also seek to remove the outdated reference to women in the home as well as broadening the definition of a family in a modern society.

The proposed addition to the Constitution impacting family carers, namely Article 42B, reads: "The State recognises that the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them, gives to society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved, and shall strive to support such provision.”

The referendum offers an unprecedented chance to formally acknowledge the contributions of family carers and paves the way for more robust support, heightened respect and the development of stronger policies tailored to their needs.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, said: "This referendum is potentially a watershed moment in our history. By supporting a 'YesYes' vote, we are advocating for a future where care and family in its broadest definition are enshrined in our Constitution and supported at all levels. Voting 'YesYes' is not just an act of recognition; it is a powerful step towards real change in how we as a nation recognise and value those who care for our most vulnerable. It’s about truly seeing the act of caring and ensuring it becomes a pivotal factor in influencing policy decisions.

Family carer Tracy Carroll shared her story: “As a family carer for my daughter and son, I've experienced firsthand the challenges and the lack of support. A 'YesYes' vote means recognising our role and addressing the support we desperately need. It's about giving dignity and strength to those of us in the shadows.”

“Caring for both my children is a labour of love, but it's also incredibly demanding. This referendum is a chance for Ireland to stand by families like mine, to ensure we are not left to struggle alone. A 'YesYes' vote is a vote for compassion and understanding of the realities we face every day. It will give us hope for a future where family carers are not just acknowledged but actively supported.”

Ms Cox further elaborated: “The referendum is about preparing for a future where any of us might need care at any time. Whether it's due to age, illness or unexpected life changes, the need for care and provision of this care are universal aspects of the human experience. Today, the person requiring care might be a neighbour, friend, or colleague. Tomorrow, it could be one of us or someone we dearly love.

“This proposed amendment is a proactive step towards ensuring that the support system for care in Ireland is not just adequate but robust, recognised and valued. It’s about establishing a solid foundation that will uphold the dignity and importance of caring in our society, today and in the future.

“This vote transcends policy, it's a chance to create a future where the work of family carers is not just recognised but actively supported by our society and government. A 'YesYes' vote is a step towards care, compassion and equality for all and a future where family caring is a valued and supported element of Irish life.”