Why Fianna Fáil is Supporting the Children's Referendum:
- It will add to the children's rights legislation introduced over the last 20 years.
- It is a sensible approach to putting children first.
- It will mean there will be an article in the Irish Constitution specifically outlining children's rights.
- It will give a voice to Irish children and will put their interests and rights at the centre of decisions taken across Government, State agencies and in our courts.
- It will have to be backed up by adequate funding.
- It will ensure all children have the right to be adopted and become part of a family if they have been abandoned or have been in foster care for over 3 years.
- It will ensure intervention by the State only in exceptional cases where children are being abused or neglected, and will ensure that action taken will be defined and proportionate.
- It will help ensure that no child is discriminated against, whether they are disadvantaged or physically or intellectually disabled, when it comes to accessing services in this State.
- It will ensure the best interests of the child will be of paramount consideration in any legal or judicial setting where the future welfare of a child is at stake.
Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution
PROPOSED NEW ARTICLE 42A
1 The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2 1" In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
2" Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.
3 Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
4 1" Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings -
i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
2" Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1° of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.