Seminar on proposed changes to family law by LRC

Mary Wilson and Karen Kiernan

One Family seminar puts the spotlight on proposed changes to the laws governing family relationships
One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation providing specialist support services for people parenting alone and sharing parenting, held an important seminar on 18 January in response to the Law Reform Commission’s report on the legal aspects of family relationships, chaired by RTE Drivetime’s Mary Wilson and attended by a number of other NGO’s, service providers and interested parties.
Speakers included Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur for Child Protection, Fergus Ryan Lecturer in Law DIT, Ciara Matthews family law solicitor with Gallagher Shatter and Candy Murphy, Policy & Research Manager, One Family.
‘We were discussing the LRC report so that we can respond to it in an informed and measured way,’ explains One Family Director Karen Kiernan, ‘the report examines many issues including family rights and relationships and asks whether guardianship rights for non-marital fathers should be changed, whether there should be compulsory joint registration of births and whether rights and responsibilities should be extended to other family members such as step-parents and grandparents. Our seminar has ensured that our response will be informed by the expertise of legal professionals and the experience of those working with families directly involved in these issues.’

Candy Murphy, Policy & Research Manager of One Family said:

‘We welcome informed analysis of the issues affecting the rights and responsibilities of members of ‘non traditional’ families, with a strong focus on the rights and welfare of children and on the development of a new language in family law that reflects this emphasis.’

Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, was one of today’s key speakers.
‘I welcome the fact that the guiding principle for the Law Reform Commission in considering the area of family law is the welfare of the child as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,’ he comments, ‘the introduction of a statutory presumption in favour of granting a non-marital father an order for guardianship unless the welfare and interests of the child dictated otherwise has much to recommend it, given the realities of modern family life. However, much more consideration needs to be given as to how such a presumption would operate, informed by recent judgements and by national and international experience.’
Candy Murphy, Fergus Ryan, Karen Kiernan, Geoffrey Shannon, Ciara Mathews
More photos of the day here.