Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has called for the Minister for Children to publish a detailed implementation plan for the recommendations contained in the latest report from the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.
Deputy Troy has consistently criticised the lack of progress on child protection issues from the Government. He commented: “In 2010 the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection recommended action be taken preventing the disclosure of confidential records and three years on, two and a half years into this government, this key recommendation remains to be implemented. As a result, children are apprehensive about coming forward for fear their therapy/counselling records will become public.
“The lack of protection on the disclosure of private information is resulting in children not getting the counselling they need and we know this has negative effects on children into the future. It is also leaving perpetrators of abuse free to prey on vulnerable children. Legislation has been introduced in Canada to deal with this and I believe this provides a template that could used to deal with this profound problem in this country.
“Dr. Shannon’s very comprehensive report is also critical of the lack of clear legislation to deal with cyber bullying. Ireland is required to put into Irish law an EU directive (2011/93/EU) to keep pace with the advances of in modern technology. Cyber bullying is a major and growing issue. As a result of a lack of action on this there is a vacuum, children remain vulnerable and this must be addressed by the Government.
“I welcome the recommendations contained in Dr. Shannon’s report that unmarried fathers would get automatic guardianship. This was an issue that should be addressed and also arose as a significant concern during the course of children’s referendum. This is a matter that many people have campaigned on and should be addressed as a matter of equality.”