Van Turnhout supports Yes vote
Senator Jillian Van Turnhout has offered an “unequivocal” endorsement of the children’s rights amendment to the Constitution.
Previously Ms Van Turnhout stated she was undecided on the wording of the amendment.
Asked this morning about her stance on the amendment, she said “I’m an unequivocal yes”. She said she was initially hesitant because she wanted to make sure the wording did what it set out to do.
“I think we should be always cautious about changing our Constitution. I would always take a cautious approach so I wanted to make sure that the wording did what it needed to do.”
She said she was satisfied the amendment will remove the "road blocks" from the courts and ensure children who are in long term foster care are eligible for adoption.
“I think it also ensures that we have a more child centred approach, not only in the courts but also in policy and decision makers because our constitution does set our values as a society."
However, she emphasised her belief more work needs to be done in the area.
“The Adoption Bill will need to come forward. The Minister has already published the Bill but it’s quite intricate, it will have to be worked through.”
She said the Bill should provide a means for adopted children to trace their identity.
“One of the issues that’s important to me is identity and every child’s right to identity. There are children, for example, in the Justice for Magdalen group who still don’t [know] who was their mother, who was their father.
“[Minister for Children] Francis Fitzgerald did commit during the week that tracing legislation would be brought forward."
Ms Van Turnhout also called for a Children’s Rights Bill so we can actually bring the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into all our legislation and ensure that we do really be one of the best places in the world to be a child.”