Focus new law on child protection, says Minister


MINISTER FOR Children Frances Fitzgerald has called “for the focus to be on child protection” in the context of ongoing discussion on new legislation. It follows suggestions that such new legislation could compel a breaking of the seal of the confessional where Catholic priests are concerned as well as a possible breaching of legal and medical privilege.

Speaking to The Irish Times last night, she said “what is required is a positive piece of legislation which will encourage a culture where child protection is taken seriously”. Such legislation “will require a careful teasing out” and could also apply even where an abused person may request that his/her abuse be not reported to gardaí or health authorities.

“The primary concern must be that children are protected from a possible abuser,” she said. In such a context “all must follow the laws of the State”. She said she expected the church would also co-operate with statutory authorities in this matter.