Referendum on children's rights


Sir, – As a victim (I use the word deliberately) of government involvement in child welfare back in the 1940s, I read with great interest the article “Referendum must address best interests of children” (Oran Doyle, Opinion, February 21st) and agree with his various reservations relative to the upcoming children’s rights legislation. Owing to the aggressive legislation pertaining at the time, my life was ruined in its entirety and I am even still, at 72, suffering the consequences.

To cut a long story short, I was taken into “care” (a misnomer if ever there was one) at age three and consigned to various institutions, including the notorious Artane, until my 16th birthday. Although I was adjudged to being neglected by my parents at the time, I would, in retrospect, have preferred such “neglect” to the definite neglect (and, yes, physical and sexual abuse) in Artane subsequently. At least, at the end of the day, natural feeling by my parents would surely have come to the fore in due course, to provide me with the care which every child needs to go on to be a whole person.

Yes, I appreciate that times have changed, but I would still beg the legislators, and their advisers, to think hard and long before taking vulnerable children away from their parents when drawing up their legislation. Any future knee-jerk action, however well-meaning, could have far-reaching consequences in a child’s subsequent life. – Yours, etc,


Beech Hill Court,


Dublin 4.