Referendum wording ': Solid and sensible' text urged
THE FIANNA Fáil-Green government agreed “solid and sensible” wording for the children’s rights referendum and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald should publish her new version quickly, Fianna Fáil has said.
A proposed constitutional amendment agreed by the Fianna Fáil/Green cabinet before the general election but never published has been seen by The Irish Times. Fianna Fáil spokesman on children Robert Troy said the current administration had been working on wording “over the last 18 months”.
Ms Fitzgerald was a member of the cross-party committee chaired by then Fianna Fáil TD Mary O’Rourke which produced a draft wording in February 2010.
Following its publication, then Fianna Fáil minister of state for children Barry Andrews said some of the committee’s wording had “unanticipated consequences”.
A new wording was agreed between Mr Andrews’s office and then attorney general Paul Gallagher, but Ms Fitzgerald believed it moved too far from the committee’s original text.
The text agreed before the demise of the last administration retained much of the wording but dropped the reference to the welfare and best interests of the child being “the first and paramount consideration” in adoption, guardianship and custody disputes. It also omitted the reference to the right of the child’s voice to be heard in “any judicial and administrative proceedings”.
Mr Troy said he was glad the wording agreed before the demise of the last administration had emerged. He urged Ms Fitzgerald to act quickly.