A series of pro-same-sex marriage advocates have been nominated to the Government's Constitutional Convention by a number of non-governmental organisations.
The groups are part of an umbrella initiative by the Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) called Hear our Voices.
According to a statement by the ICCL, the nominations are “the result of a call for nominations to over 900 organisations” through this initiative.
The nominees were grouped under different headings. Under the heading “Provision for marriage for same-sex couples,” the umbrella group nominated Kieran Rose, a founder member of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), law lecturers Dr. Fergus Ryan of Dublin Institute of Technology, (also a member of GLEN) and Dr. Fiona De Londras, and barrister Ms. Justine Quinn.
Under the heading “Removal of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution”, the nominees were Professor David Nash, Oxford Brookes University, and the head of Atheist Ireland Michael Nugent.
Mr Nugent was also nominated under the heading “Full constitutional recognition of the separation of Church and State”.
Under the heading of “Amending the clause on the role of women in the home and encouraging greater participation of women in public life” the nominee was Karen Kiernan, the head of lone parent group One Family.
Other nominees were Trinity law lecturer Professor Gerry Whyte, barrister David Joyce, and former Sinn Féin and Labour activist Killian Forde, under the heading “Review of the Dáil electoral system”.
Jim Clarken, CEO Oxfam Ireland and Hans Zomer Director of Dóchas were nominated under the heading “Economic, social and cultural rights”.
In a statement on the nominations, Mark Kelly of the ICCL criticised the Government's suggestion that it wasn't practical to allow every civil society group to be represented on the Constitutional Convention.
Kelly said: “The mature and considered response by civil society groups to our call for expert nominations would suggest otherwise. Given the opportunity, civil society organisations have shown themselves to be more than capable of adopting a sensible and pragmatic self-selection approach to participating in the Convention.
“Given the very high calibre of civil society nominees, the ICCL trusts that the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste will respond positively to the ICCL’s recommendation that they be included in the Constitutional Convention’s expert panel.”