“An attack on the fundamental rights of the family in the pretence that they will protect children in the future” is the only way to describe the latest Constitutional Amendment according to Malachy Steenson, solicitor and criminologist .
Speaking on behalf of the Parents for Children’s campaign against the amendment he said, “The People of Ireland are being told by this Government, almost the entire political class and the media to amend the fundamental law of this State in order to protect children.
“Much commentary has revolved around all of the recent reports into institutional care in the past and that the reason for this amendment is to prevent this happening again, this ignores that fact that those primarily responsible for placing our children in these hell holes was the State itself.
“Cases like Kilkenny and Roscommon are being used to push this Amendment, however in all of these cases the HSE was involved and aware of what was going on for years yet they failed to act.
“It was not the lack of a specific constitutional protection for children above all other citizens which allowed these cases to continue but the inaction of a dysfunctional unaccountable care system which is more concerned about budgets, careers and protecting itself than it is about children,” Mr Steenson said.
“This amendment is designed to place the State as the decider of what is in the best interest of the child and not the family. What is needed at this time is support for families and not legislation to break them up. On a daily basis this Government is pursuing a policy of austerity which is driving more and more families including children into poverty, is that in the best interest of children,” he added.
Commenting on the current position in relation to care proceedings he said, “If this State was concerned about Children and what is happening in the Care System then they would abolish the system of secret courts with the in-camera rule in care proceedings and publish what is happening, (redacting any identifying characteristics), the Irish people would be stunned at what would be revealed. The in-camera rule is now used to protect the State and its institutions from public scrutiny and not to protect the interests of the Child, Justice is required to be done in the open except for Children it seems.”
He went on to say “the key question for citizens to ask themselves before they vote is, knowing all you now know about the running of this State for decades do you trust this Government, if the answer is ‘no’ then why would you trust them to look after your children?
“Yet again the children of this nation are to pay the price for the failings of the political establishment. Even at a time of crisis a failed and discredited ideology gets in the way of humanity,” said Mr Steenson.