Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children, Robert Troy TD, has called on the Minister with responsibility for Children, Frances Fitzgerald TD, not to cherry pick but fully implement all 47 recommendations of the 2011 Report of the Special Rapporteur for Child Protection.
Deputy Troy commented: “While I welcome the publication of the report and the sterling work put in by its author Dr Geoffrey Shannon, I find it disturbing that the Minister has held onto the report for six months before publishing it.
“The Minister has cherry picked certain recommendations contained in the report and ignored other ones. It is disingenuous of the Minister to say a number of these recommendations are already being implemented, she delayed the report’s publication while she got her house in order. Why did it take six months to publish the report that was completed in February? Minister Fitzgerald needs to implement the report in its entirety.
“The Minister needs to implement a coherent plan and strategy to ensure that all 47 recommendations are implemented.
“In the Minister’s statement on the report, she has omitted three priority areas that should be addressed. Firstly, the Minister seems to have overlooked the key recommendation in the report, that is to amend the Childcare Act 1991 so as to enable any person to apply to the court seeking an order or direction in respect of a child who is not the subject of proceedings under the Child Care Act 1991 or the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964, but who has been brought to the attention of the HSE, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the child in question is not receiving adequate care and protection.
“Secondly, the Minister is ignoring the fact the report is highly critical of the existing support network for families. More needs to be done to protect and help struggling families.
“Thirdly, the report says there is a chronic shortage of foster places, which is extremely worrying, some children spend as long as two years in institutional care as a direct result. More needs to be done to incentivise people to register as foster carers. We need to increase the numbers that offer foster services and this needs to be done urgently.
“These are key recommendations of the report and I hope the Minister isn’t planning to overlook them. I congratulate Dr Shannon for his excellent report and I hope we see immediate action on his recommendations."