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28 Feb 2024 - IASW Position on Referendums on Proposed Changes to the Constitution (8 March 2024)

Voters in Ireland will have an opportunity on 8 March 2024 to register their response to Government proposals to make two amendments to the current text of Article 41 of our Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitutional change is always a most serious and significant matter, especially in the context of the potential impact of any such change to our basic law, and the possible subsequent impact on legislation, policies, and services, as well as other direct effects on citizens themselves.

IASW has been considering the implications of the upcoming Referendums, including for social workers themselves and for those with whom we work. We particularly wanted to give due consideration to whether IASW should take a specific position ‘for’ or ‘against’ either or both of the proposed constitutional amendments.

As part of this process, IASW invited members to make any relevant observations to the Association. As well as receiving a number of submissions in response to this invitation, the IASW Board has also had discussions, at Board level, as well as with others, on the relevant issues.

At the Board meeting on 19 February, the matter was discussed, and it was acknowledged, among other considerations, that there are strongly held, and compelling views held by various bodies contributing to the current debate regarding the implications of either making the proposed changes or not at this time. The resulting decision of the IASW Board is that IASW, in all the circumstances, does not take a specific position in relation to supporting a vote either way in both Referendums. Nevertheless, we do acknowledge the hugely significant issues involved and urge all social workers to familiarise themselves with those issues (especially through the website: and to exercise the right to vote, either way, based on individual preference and judgement.

Vivian Geiran

Chair of IASW