Seven-in-ten Irish mums want to stay at home to bring up children

More than two-in-three mothers would choose to stay at home to look after dependent children instead of engaging in work outside the home according to new research.

A survey by Amárach Research for the Iona Institute found 69 per cent of mothers with children under the age of 18 would prefer to stay at home with their children rather than go out to work if they could afford it.

The results come as Ireland prepares to vote on changes to its Constitution that would remove the State’s existing commitment to stay-at-home mothers.


The results reflect an increase from 62 per cent since a 2017 survey commissioned by Sudocrem using the same questions.

extremely relevant to the upcoming referendum on carers

Amárach, which surveyed 500 women over the age of 18, also found that 76 per cent said that women who work in the home are undervalued by society compared with women who work outside the home and 71 per cent do not feel valued by society for their work as mothers.

Patricia Casey, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at University College Dublin, called the findings “extremely relevant to the upcoming referendum on carers”.


In a statement on behalf of the Iona Institute, Prof Casey said: “Currently, the Constitution acknowledges the importance of mothers, and it says they should not be forced out of the home by economic necessity”.

“We see from this survey and others like it that the vast majority of mothers would prefer to stay at home with their children if they could afford it. This is exactly what the Constitution aims at, even if the State has failed to live up to the promise of the Constitution.”

Prof Casey concluded: “If the Government was really on the side of mothers, it would make it easier for them to stay at home with their children if that is their wish, and it is the wish of the vast majority of them, as the Amárach poll tells us.

“But the Government seems to be on the side of the economy, not mothers. It wants to delete the one reference to mothers from the Constitution, the one reference to the home in the context of mothers, and the one reference to try and protect mothers from being forced out of the home. This is not right.”


Ireland faces two referendums on 8 March.

The second proposes replacing Articles 41.2.1 and 41.2.2 with an entirely new clause:

Article 41.2.1: “In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.”

Article 41.2.2:“The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

Article 42B: “The State recognises that the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them, gives to Society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved, and shall strive to support such provision.”