Preparing for the 'children' referendum
Sir, – This referendum is unnecessary. Our children are fully protected under the Constitution as it stands.
The much-quoted Kilkenny incest and Roscommon cases, as well as others. were not caused by any defect in the law but rather by the failure of those charged with the responsibility of giving effect to that law. None of the deaths of the children in care, nor damage caused by clerical abuse arose as a result of deficiencies in the law. The same State responsible for these atrocities is now trumped as the saviour of our children.
The proposed adoption provision is no more than a smokescreen. Children of married parents may be adopted under the present Constitution. Nowhere is this set out in the information circulated to the public. There is no need for this new provision. Legislation would resolve any difficulties and new legislation will be required to give effect to any changed provision in the Constitution.
The proposal that children must be heard in court proceedings is nonsense as well as being prohibitive in cost.
At present in court cases of care proceedings the system of guardians ad litem operates and in criminal proceedings children are represented. The introduction of obligatory representation for children in family law proceedings is without merit.
Disputes between parents are stressful enough for children without compelling them to appear before a judge to preserve their paramount interest. Who will decide what “paramount” means – one or other of the parents, a legal representative of either parent or of the children in question, the judge? On what basis? Who will set the criteria?
The delays in hearing those family law proceedings will be extensive as these children will have no income and will have to apply for civil legal aid where the waiting list is nine months or longer.
The people of this country are being fooled by the pious platitudes of politicians as is evident from the fact that the same politicians cannot decide on the title of the referendum – children or children’s. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I have voted in every election and referendum for over 40 years, but I won’t be voting on Saturday.
I’m fed up with the pious mouthings of the Yes side about vows to our children and cherishing all our children and so forth. We don’t need a referendum to do this.
If the referendum is carried we will then have to wait for the legislation; why not let us see the legislation first? We will then be depending on the judiciary to interpret the legislation and the Constitution – the same judiciary that regularly shows leniency to rapists. These are the people who will finally decide what’s in the best interests of the child, and it will probably be done in the secret family courts. First, we should know what the legislation will be and then there should be full transparency over how it is interpreted.
I won’t vote against it because I have spent 40 years cherishing children and I don’t see that it can do much harm if it is passed, but mostly I couldn’t think of myself as being on the same side as the right- wing lunatics and conspiracy theorists who see the hand of the UN/EU/Satan behind it all. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – We support a Yes vote in the children’s referendum on November 10th. This is a historic opportunity to put children at the heart of the Constitution. We encourage everyone to make time on Saturday to vote Yes for children. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I’ve finally tracked down the present Government’s source of mystic wisdom: “The family as it is now is a unit of limited relationships, self-enclosing and exclusive . . . The family as a means of inward security is a source of disorder and social catastrophe” (Jiddu Krishnamurti). And we all thought it was the bankers and the government! I shall vote No. – Yours, etc,*This article was edited on November 7th 2012