FCI Statement on Referendums Result

Posted on Sunday 10 March 2024


Sunday, 10th March 2024: Family Carers Ireland respects the outcome of the recent referendums. However, we are disappointed that we did not manage to persuade people of the merits of the wording of Article 42B which would have acknowledged the contribution of family carers to Irish society and placed an obligation on our government to strive to support them.

As an organisation, we were shocked at the narrative that caring is “ableist” (i.e. discriminatory and socially prejudicial against people with disabilities) and that rights for family carers can only come at the expense of rights for people with disabilities or vice versa. We see the interests of both groups as broadly aligned and we indicated early in the campaign that we would be happy to support a campaign for a constitutional provision in regard to the rights of people with disabilities.

We welcome that the referendum has opened up an important debate about issues surrounding care and disability. It has brought to light the challenges and hardships faced by family carers and those in need of care and support. It has sparked conversations in homes, workplaces, and government spaces alike. It has highlighted the need for a more inclusive and supportive care system, one that recognises the invaluable contribution of family carers to our society. We want to continue that conversation as we work to achieve the recognition, resources and respect family carers so deserve.

Throughout the referendum campaign we said that, win or lose, the day after the referendum we would be back working to support all family carers and fighting for better services for carers and those who need care or support. That is now the case and whilst we do not have a constitutional provision to cite, we call on the government to follow through on what it told us it would deliver.

As an organisation, we would like to thank the family carers who shared their stories with us and with the public and all who supported our campaign including our dedicated staff team. We were disappointed to have to turn off comments on some of our social media to protect people from abusive comments that have no place in any healthy democratic process.