Parents’ Organisations Slam Misinformation on Children’s Referendum
Mainstream parents’ organisations slam misinformation relating to the Children’s Referendum in Dublin today. Urging all parents to vote YES in the Children’s Referendum on Saturday 10 November 2012, six parents’ organisations have come together to set the record straight. Chaired by Áine Lynch of the National Parents Council Primary, the five other organisations are the Mothers’ Union (Olive Good); National Parents Council Post-Primary (Jackie O’Callaghan); One Family (Karen Kiernan); OPEN (Frances Byrne); and Treoir (Margot Doherty).
These mainstream groups have come together to dismiss claims by individuals and small groups, purporting to represent parents, that the Children’s Referendum is an attack on family and parents’ rights. Parents and families are central to a child’s life. Each of the organisations believe that this referendum will help empower parents to ensure that the State upholds their child’s rights and are calling on all parents to vote YES on Saturday 10 November 2012.
Speaking at the press conference, Áine Lynch of the National Parents Council Primary, says: “Affording children rights is not about diminishing the rights of parents or the family or indeed increasing the rights of the State. It is about society in Ireland making a statement of value about its children. The National Parents Council Primary urges people to get out and vote on November the 10th. It is vital that, as a modern society, we give the strongest message possible that Ireland values its children.”
Olive Good, of Mother’s Union, says: “The Children’s referendum represents a positive step in the State’s willingness to prioritise children by protecting them and ensuring their rights.”
Jackie O’Callaghan, of National Parents Council Post Primary, says: “The National Parents Council Post Primary is very pleased to support a YES vote in the forthcoming Children’s Referendum. It is imperative that we now look to the future, learn from the mistakes of the past and safeguard our most precious resource: our children.”
Margot Doherty, of Treoir, says: “The Children’s Referendum, if passed, will mean that, for the first time, there will be a clear statement of children’s rights in the Irish Constitution. Treoir believes that, inherent in these rights, are a child’s right to identity and to a relationship with both their parents.”
Frances Byrne, of OPEN, says: “The Children’s Referendum spells out the State’s duty to safeguard the rights of all children and, critically, it establishes the same threshold of protection to all children, regardless of whether their parents are married or unmarried.”
Karen Kiernan, of One Family, says: “We particularly want to welcome the proposed introduction of mandatory consultation with children in proceedings relating to them. Children are rarely consulted and there are no appropriate systems to do so. There are excellent models from other jurisdictions in how to appropriately hear children’s voices in court in a way that is meaningful for the child and helpful for the judiciary and parents.”
All six organisations are supportive of the Yes for Children campaign, which is led by Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance, the ISPCC and Campaign for Children.