Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has said that the attention on child protection issues over the last 24 hours demonstrate vividly the urgent need for the Children First guidelines to be put on a statutory footing.
Deputy Troy said: “It’s clear that our professionals working in the health service and child protection as well as the Gardaí need the Children First guidelines backed up in law. This legislation is long overdue and is an essential part of ensuring we have a robust child protection regime in Ireland.
“The public’s attention is rightly focussed on child protection issues at the moment and I want to ensure the Government lives up to its commitment to strengthen our child protection systems and ensuring the guidelines are properly enforced by the HSE and where appropriate by the Gardaí.
“Minister Fitzgerald gave a commitment over two years ago that this legislation was a top priority for her. We are now halfway through the life of this Government and it continues to be delayed. Despite significant consultation with the Oireachtas Committee and specialist groups working on children’s issues there is still no clear timeline from the Minister on when the legislation will be published.
“While we still await details about what has happened in the two incidents in Tallaght and County Westmeath, we do know that asking state agencies to operate in an environment where there is not clear and up-to-date legislative guidance is not the way we should be treating an issue as serious as child protection.”