Why did Ireland say no to a modern image of women?

Irish voters have rejected proposed changes to references on family and women in the country's constitution. This means that, among other things, an 80-year-old formulation that refers to women's "duties in the home" and makes women solely responsible for the household and raising children will remain in place. Commentators analyse the reasons for the clear rejection of the government's proposals.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

An unconvinicing Yes campaign

The Irish Times is not at all surprised by the result of the vote:

“Scared of being nailed by either side, the Government simultaneously argued that what was on offer represented a big change in the Constitution - but also that it wouldn't change all that much legally at all. Trying to steer a middle course, the Government fell foul of people on all sides of these debates, and crucially failed to build a consensus, middle-ground position. Too often during the campaign its explanations were unclear and the case it made unconvincing. Many senior ministers were notable by their absence from the debate.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

A vote against the government

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also has an explanation for the result:

“Referendums supported by the government are always also referendums on the government. ... And here the politicians misjudged their voters, whose most pressing problem is perhaps not the antiquated roles enshrined in the constitution. In Ireland, too, the mood towards immigrants is changing, and the housing market and healthcare system are under pressure. It is quite possible that resentment over this drove people to the polls - while those in favour of the constitutional amendments preferred to stay at home.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

The opposition should not be surprised

Opposition parties like Sinn Féin shouldn't pin all the blame for the fiasco on the government, the Irish Independent puts in:

“All the main political parties were in favour of Yes, not that you'd really know. ... But if they actually believed in the amendments, they might have fought a bit harder for the change themselves. The country's largest party, Sinn Féin, launched their almost invisible Yes campaign on February 20 by lashing into the Government for a 'missed opportunity' and promising a rerun if the vote failed. Not exactly the language of politicians who actually wanted the referendums to get through.”