Civil society groups ask Government to include twelve nominees on expert panel for Constitutional Convention

Irish civil society groups are asking the Government to include twelve nominees on the expert panel for the coming Constitutional Convention.

The nominees include Atheist Ireland chairperson Michael Nugent and Oxford Brookes University professor David Nash on the topic of blasphemy; and Michael Nugent on the wider issue of Constitutional recognition of separation of church and state.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, through its Hear Our Voices campaign, has brought together over 900 civil society groups to try to make the Convention as inclusive and comprehensive as possible.

The twelve people that the campaign is suggesting to the Government, together with the topics scheduled for discussion on which they were nominated, are:

Review of the Dáil electoral system

  • Professor Gerard F Whyte BCL, LL.M., MA, FTCD (1990), LL.D., BL
    Nominated by: Irish Traveller Movement
  • David Joyce BL
    Nominated by: Irish Traveller Movement
  • Killian Forde, The Integration Centre
    Nominated by: The Integration Centre

Provision for marriage for same-sex couples

  • Dr. Fergus Ryan, Dublin Institute of Technology
    Nominated by: Gay and Lesbian Equality Network
  • Kieran Rose
    Nominated by: Gay and Lesbian Equality Network
  • Ms. Justine Quinn LL.B., LL.M., Attorney-at-Law, BL
    Nominated by: Marriage Equality
  • Dr. Fiona De Londras BCL, LL.M., PhD
    Nominated by: Marriage Equality

Amending the clause on the role of women in the home and encouraging greater participation of women in public life

  • Karen Kiernan, One Family
    Nominated by: One Family

Removal of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution

  • Professor David Nash, Oxford Brookes University
    Nominated by: Atheist Ireland
  • Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland
    Nominated by: Atheist Ireland

Other relevant constitutional amendments

(a) Economic, social and cultural rights

  • Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland
    Nominated by: Oxfam Ireland
  • Hans Zomer, Dóchas
    Nominated by: Dóchas

(b) Full constitutional recognition of the separation of Church and State

  • Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland
    Nominated by: Atheist Ireland

You can read further details about the nominees on the ICCL website.

The first meeting of the Constitutional Convention is expected to take place in September 2012, and the first items scheduled for discussion are: (i) reducing the Presidential term of office to five years and aligning it with the local and European elections; and (ii) reducing the voting age to 17. No nominations for civil society experts were received in relation to these two topics.

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