The Children's Referendum: Little to Write Home About

Gareth Noble is a partner in KOD Lyons Solicitors and heads their Child Law Department, representing children in courts and in care. Gareth has extensive experience in Judicial Review and has represented many adults before the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

The Children’s Referendum is a missed opportunity to deliver real change across a range of vital areas.

Rarely has such an important issue facing the Irish people in a referendum seen such little debate. This may reflect the fact that the government has managed to publish a wording that appears to satisfy traditionalist concerns previously expressed by figures on the right such as David Quinn or Senator Ronan Mullan. On the other hand many of those in the NGO sector appeared to have endorsed the referendum even before the wording had been published, reflecting their well meaning and frustrated attempts to force successive governments into holding a children’s rights poll. Government attempts therefore to quell opposition from any potentially tricky source appears to have been an unqualified success.

There are many elements of the proposal which are of merit. Article 42A.2.1 provides for a balanced approach to the question of state intervention in family life in a way that is proportionate and only in circumstances where the safety and welfare of a child is ‘likely to be prejudicially affected’. This sensible approach protects the child in need and yet makes redundant the false argument that these changes were designed to allow unfettered state intervention in family life.

In practical terms the effect of this amendment on children born to married Continue reading “The Children's Referendum: Little to Write Home About”

The Children's Referendum: Little to Write Home About