Photo: Paul Faith/Barron’s

In a referendum on Friday, Ireland’s Government failed to secure passage of amendments to the Constitution redefining family and care.

Pursuing the outcome from citizens’ assemblies, the Government had proposed an amendment to be inclusive of families which were not just father, mother, and children. The amendment on care removed its basis on “woman in the home”.

The large scale of the defeat — a 2/3rds No vote on the family measure, and almost 75% over care — surprised many observers.

In a 12-minute interview with Times Radio’s Darryl Morris on Saturday night, I explain that the No vote was not primarily based on reasserted a “traditional” view of a family and a woman’s place.

Instead, it marked the failure of the Government to link the changes to policies and actions to ensure adequate protection of families — all families — and care for all people, as a rapidly-growing Ireland faces challenges over infrastructure and social provision.

Listen to Discussion from 1:09.33

I think the Government said, “This is all part of this great new Ireland in the 21st century,” and they didn’t realize that you can’t do it with just words.

You have to do it also by considering, “Where are we going to be in 5 to 10 years?” when this is a country which has growing pains.