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Thread: Children's Referendum

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    Children's Referendum

    Seeing as the recent run of posts between Dundalk and Waterford "fans" could well be dealt with under legislation related to children, or at least childishness, wanted to see how folks voted on this. The first result, from up in Donegal, came in 56.5% against, and given that turn out seems to have been so low, it could be a severe kick in the kenackers for the FG-Lab regime. I took the time to read through what was being brought up and there are some really, really dangerous changes to be enacted (if it's voted through). One of them really caught my mind, or what's left of it.

    The State will have the right to force adoption of children without parental permission should the children be deemed to be neglected, impoverished or under varying types of abuse.

    This alone is worthy of voting no because only a month ago a case was being fought in Belarus where the state prosecutors, hand in hand with child services, were forcing the adoption of the child of prominent journalists (and anti-Lukashenko activists). This is widely seen as punishment for their speaking out and the same case was made in the Free PR case (by the defendants lawyers) so that the "artists" children could not be taken from them - just to add there was never a suggestion or move made to do so, however the state has the right under law.

    Now, in any country such legislation is dynamite and in a country as small, politically incestuous and class biased as Ireland, it can do far, far more bad than good. A very simple scenario is this - parents of a child split up, mother meets new man, lobbies local TD and does the usual snow job on the HSE to ensure the father is stitched up and a court will remove parental rights of the father and give them to the mother's new man.

    Okay, this might sound far fetched, but I've seen it done in other countries where such a piece of legislation exists, and this will be the most common abuse of the law if it's passed.

    Maybe others will think I'm nuts, but I don't see the need for the referendum other than to deflect from the most recent payments to unsecured bondholders or to try drain the reserves of the pro-lifers before an abortion referendum.

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    A very simple scenario is this - parents of a child split up, mother meets new man, lobbies local TD and does the usual snow job on the HSE to ensure the father is stitched up and a court will remove parental rights of the father and give them to the mother's new man.
    This is a complete misreading of the amendment. The purpose of the amendment is to provide for when both parents are unwilling or unable to take care of a child. Your scenario is a simple family law case of which there are thousands every year - the state has no right and will have no right to grant adoption orders to one side.

    The referendum has very little to do with intra-family law. It is about protecting the welfare of vulnerable children, and the adoption amendment would seek to make it possible for children to remain in family homes instead of being lost in a fostering/care system where dozens of children die every year. The original text of the constitution doesn't explicitly prevent legislation like this being drawn up, but the new text should make it a lot less messier.

    Maybe others will think I'm nuts, but I don't see the need for the referendum other than to deflect from the most recent payments to unsecured bondholders or to try drain the reserves of the pro-lifers before an abortion referendum.
    The amendment is required to comply with the UNCRC, which Ireland has signed up for. You can argue the content but not the fact Ireland is required to amend the constitution.

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    Another factor worth noting is the demographic divide in the results - with middle-class areas voting "yes" most heavily, while Donegal and working-class districts rejecting the proposal in many cases - could this be down to disillusionment with politics in general, anti-government anger, or just general apathy?

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    Unless you have access to data I don't, only one working class constituency voted no and that was by a massive 0.8%. Voting in middle class areas always tends to be more in line with the government line than anywhere else, so I wouldn't read much into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Darwin View Post
    This is a complete misreading of the amendment. The purpose of the amendment is to provide for when both parents are unwilling or unable to take care of a child. Your scenario is a simple family law case of which there are thousands every year - the state has no right and will have no right to grant adoption orders to one side.

    The referendum has very little to do with intra-family law. It is about protecting the welfare of vulnerable children, and the adoption amendment would seek to make it possible for children to remain in family homes instead of being lost in a fostering/care system where dozens of children die every year. The original text of the constitution doesn't explicitly prevent legislation like this being drawn up, but the new text should make it a lot less messier.


    The amendment is required to comply with the UNCRC, which Ireland has signed up for. You can argue the content but not the fact Ireland is required to amend the constitution.
    CD, I've read it and discussed it 2 weeks ago with a family law solicitor, it can happen exactly as I put above. Under the amendment there is (will be) leeway given for a court enforced order. I've no difficulty with Ireland updating or amending legislation to make the country a better place, but this has made far greater areas for abuse. The rights of fathers, in particular, is never strong, with this legislation in place it makes it tougher. Plus it is now (unless at this late hour I'm forgetful) an in camera court that will make the decision on fitness of parents. Again, this can allow the 2 scenarios that were explained to me. I just don't believe that anything this regime does is on the level.

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
    CD, I've read it and discussed it 2 weeks ago with a family law solicitor, it can happen exactly as I put above. Under the amendment there is (will be) leeway given for a court enforced order.
    I'm surprised a solicitor would be so unfamiliar with the law. The amendment is not legislation as you seem to think it is, and there is no part of the new amendment that contradicts the old part, it merely provides more detail.

    The amendment basically restates the original article, which says that if all parents have failed in their duty, then the state will step in. It then adds that instead of the child going into the system, they can be adopted. The original article does not proscribe this. If legislation was passed last week saying a child could be adopted rather than be taken into care, it would be constitutional. The amendment doesn't change that.
    The scenario you outlined is of no relevance here. It is a straightforward family law that would be resolved with any recourse to adoption. I'm not so familiar with family law that I know the ins and outs, but if an abusive father has been barred from caring for his child, then I am quite sure the mother's new husband would have some scope to adopt the child under existing legislation. There is absolutely nothing in the amendment that suggests a court could order a child be adopted by his mother's new father, and quite frankly the suggestion is bizarre.
    I've no difficulty with Ireland updating or amending legislation to make the country a better place, but this has made far greater areas for abuse. The rights of fathers, in particular, is never strong, with this legislation in place it makes it tougher. Plus it is now (unless at this late hour I'm forgetful) an in camera court that will make the decision on fitness of parents. Again, this can allow the 2 scenarios that were explained to me. I just don't believe that anything this regime does is on the level.
    In camera courts are designed to protect people's privacy. They can still appeal to higher courts.

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    Sorry, my mistake on calling it legislation. CD, the guy I spoke with works on the frontline and has been to the forefront in a number of campaigns to increase the transparency in both adoption, custody and fostering processes. The scenario's I outlined (the adoption and the removal and forced adoption) both can happen. I've re-read it since reading your post and they can both fit. It's not a bizarre suggestion and it will be borne out over time.

    In camera courts are too often to the detriment of families or individuals and are a great danger. One element that increases without open scrutiny are false claims which place the individual(s) in the guilty position and having to prove their innocence. I am aware of one particular case where a mother falsely claimed the father had beaten the child (this was in a dragged out custody battle) and emotionally damaged the child. The father then had to go for counselling and the child examined. I know that this, too, could happen in an open hearing, however I would believe that there would be less room for such criminality.

    I really believe that this amendment is opening up a massive mess down the line, though what the FG-Labour regime want, they'll get because there are no longer checks in place in terms of a solid opposition.

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