Referendum seminar to take place in Athlone this Monday

An information seminar on the Children’s Rights Referendum is to be held in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel on Monday evening (November 5 ) at 7pm.

It will be hosted by local TD, Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for children, while Senator Jillian Van Turnhout will be guest speaker.

This referendum is expected to end the legal limbo that hundreds of children in long term foster care find themselves in, by allowing for the adoption of marital children.

“This isn’t about removing children from their families, but about ensuring those children in the care system are given a second chance. It is about giving all children equal rights no matter what the status of their parents,” said Deputy Troy.

In a report published by the Ombudsman for Children in April 2011 called A Children’s Rights Analysis of Investigations it reviewed 10 investigations in recent years from a children’s rights perspective concerning school transport, local authority housing provision, special needs provision, HSE provision for alternative care, and the handling of a child protection complaint.

There were a number of common themes that emerged here, mainly that it showed how children appear to be largely invisible in decision making processes which affect their lives, and that decision-making by public bodies were often not informed by the impact on children or what’s in their best interests. Decisions taken or how they were handled were not informed by children’s rights principles.

The report stressed the importance of the need for an amendment to the constitution based on the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Deputy Troy is campaigning for a yes vote in the forthcoming children’s rights referendum.

He believes it is “totally inaccurate” for anyone to suggest that nothing has been done since Judge Katharine McGuinness first made her initial comments about the need for a referendum nearly 20 years ago, believing his party has enhanced the rights of children through legislation such as the 2001 Children Act and the 2007 Child Care Act.


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