Our ‘Behind the Headlines’ panel discussion on 13 February will explore the upcoming referendum proposals and the meanings of ‘home’ in contemporary Ireland.

Joining us from Trinity’s School of Law, Associate Professor Rachael Walsh is a constitutional law expert and a property lawyer.

She will examine how existing constitutional conceptions of ‘home’ interacted with protections for family and women in decisions of the courts? Professor Walsh will consider “what impacts the proposed changes might have on our constitutional conception of home - in particularly, whether it is primarily concerned with privacy against State interference, or a thicker conception of home.”

Dr Walsh is the author of Property Rights and Social Justice: Progressive Property in Action (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and co-author of Kelly: The Irish Constitution (Bloomsbury, 2018).  

Lindsey Earner-Byrne is the Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity's School of Histories and Humanities having joined Trinity in August 2023. She will explore the history of the clauses and how they were perceived at the time:  “The interpretation of 'the family' and 'the home' in the 1937 Constitution were rooted in particular contemporary anxieties concerning the rise of male unemployment, the implications and impact of working mothers, and the erosion of certain moral and social values.”

“While it is likely these articles reflected majority sentiment at the time, they were also contested by key women's groups. In fact, the debate over these articles provided a crucial space for these women to reflect their anger and disappointment about the new Ireland and its limitation of female citizenship.”

Senator Tom Clonan (University of Dublin, Trinity College Seanad Panel) will look at the proposed Constitutional Amendment on Care as it relates to the responsibility of ‘family’ as set out in 42.B. He recently contributed to the Seanad discussion on the Thirty-ninth Amendment of the Constitution (The Family) Bill 2023 and spoke about his lived experience as a carer and about disabled citizens' access to other supports in the community or outside the home.

Dr Claire O’Connell, an expert on how Irish law can recognise intending parentage while vindicating the child’s right to identity in assisted human reproduction. She is a board member of LGBT Ireland and of the LGBT+ Parenting Alliance--a group made up of LGBT Ireland, Equality for Children and Irish Gay Dads.

This is an in-person event and attendance is free, however registration is required. Book now here.