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On 10 November 2012, the people of Ireland will take to the polls to vote on a proposed thirty first amendment to the Irish Constitution. The proposal is to delete the existing Art°42.5 of the Constitution, and insert a child-centric Art°42A. The amendment proposes to explicitly recognise children's rights in the Constitution, and to impose an obligation on the State to protect and vindicate those rights. It further proposes that such an intervention by the State would occur only in exceptional cases where parents fail in their duties. Perhaps, the most far reaching impact of the amendment would occur in the area of adoption. Should the amendment be passed, it will pave the way for the Legislature to provide for the voluntary adoption of children of married parents for the first time in the State's history.
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