THE Constitutional Convention which rolls into the city this week is an opportunity for the people of Limerick to have the right to housing and the right to access to healthcare enshrined in Irish law, according to Amnesty International executive director Colm O’Gorman.
The convention - which is setting in train a revision of the state’s basic legal text - is holding a public meeting at the Strand Hotel this Wednesday, November 27, at 7.30pm.
It has been mandated by government to examine issues such as reducing the term of the President to five years; lowering the voting age to 17 and extending the franchise to emigrants; same-sex marriage and other issues. But Mr O’Gorman said the work of the convention - comprising 66 citizens and 33 elected politicians - was not limited to the above.
“Although the list of topics for the convention to look at was set by the government, it is up to convention members themselves to decide which other issues they think should be addressed. I believe this is an opportunity for us to look at what our constitution means and what is important to hundreds of thousands of families across Ireland,” he stated.
“For families in Limerick, any conversation concerning the content of our constitution will play second best to the much harder questions being faced today. How much money is left in the bank account by the end of the month? Are our kids getting the education they deserve?
“You have a right to health. You have a right to housing. You have a right to a decent living. These are fundamental human rights that belong to you but many of your human rights are not protected in Irish law.”
The “first step” in redressing this, Mr O’Gorman said, was for citizens to make their voices heard through the work of the convention. “Go along to this week’s meeting and let’s put this on the agenda loud and clear,” he said.