Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has called on the Government to clarify the timeline for the passage of the Children and Family Relationships Bill.
Deputy Collins said: “I welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment to hold a referendum on marriage equality in Spring next year. Fianna Fáil supports the passage of the referendum and we will be campaigning for it. But we also believe the Children and Family Relationships Bill is an important piece of legislation and that it should be passed before the marriage equality referendum is held.
“The Dáil will rise for the summer in less than three weeks and I’m urging Minister Frances Fitzgerald to publish this long awaited legislation before then. It was first proposed in 2012, and while the general scheme of the Bill has been published the full detail is needed to give politicians and interest groups appropriate time to propose amendments to strengthen the Bill.
“I raised this issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this morning and his comments that the Bill “is being worked on” and that it’s “a complicated Bill” are worryingly vague and non-committal. The referendum next Spring will be extremely important. It will be the final step in the long journey for full equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland. But I believe the conditions for that referendum will also be very important.
“Passage of the Children and Family Relationships Bill will be a key step along the way. We are eager to work with the Government and within the Joint Oireachtas Justice Committee to ensure this legislation is passed but I am concerned by the delay in its publication. I hope the Government will move quickly to have this legislation published in full.”