Fianna Fáil Whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD has described as “extremely disappointing” the decision by the Government not to adopt a common sense measure by Fianna Fáil which would allow for the adoption of hundreds of children who are currently in long term care. These children cannot currently be adopted because of rules arising from the current position of the family in the Constitution.
Speaking during a Dáil debate on a Bill brought forward by Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue TD, Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said: “In light of the momentum that was generated in the last Dáil towards creating a stronger Constitutional, and indeed Legislative framework in support of the rights of the Child it is sad and disappointing to see that good will and momentum being dissipated by a government which now sees Judges Pay as rating priority attention over the rights of the Child. And all this despite what they said in opposition, what they committed themselves to in the course of the election campaign and what they’ve stated on coming into government.”
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl added: “While there are complexities, though not insurmountable ones, surrounding the broader issues of children’s rights, the issue of adoption is more straightforward and capable of being dealt with in the timeframe set out by Deputy McConalogue.”
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl, a member of the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee in the last Dáil, said the proposition brought forward by Fianna Fáil would create “greater security, new opportunities and ultimately better life prospects for very many young Irish people now and into the future.”
He added: “The statistics on children in care in Ireland are truly staggering. 90% of the 6,000 children in care are currently in foster home placements, with one third of these, or approaching two thousand children, in long term foster care.”
During the debate Deputy Ó Fearghaíl quoted Deputy Michael D. Higgins, who, speaking on these issues on the 19th. of May 2010, said “What must be decided? The children of the people, who will be consulted, in all the departments, are not at risk. If one wants to say every child is a protected child in this republic, then one will vote for the motion – that is what we should do, we do not need any more time”.
Following the debate Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said: “In my view there was a most compelling case to proceed on the basis of the Fianna Fáil Bill last week and I do feel that in time it will be reflected upon as a missed opportunity for a great many children.”