By David Mc Williams
THIS is Enda’s eggshell referendum. For the Taoiseach knows all too well that there are few political minefields more lethal to the longevity of a government than a constitutional referendum and anything to do with children or family.
And so there was never any doubt that the wording of the Children’s Referendum would be meticulously picked over by legal-eagles for loopholes or for any hint of hubris before being unveiled — there couldn’t be the slightest suggestion that this was a charter for social-worker shock-troops to be able to snatch howling infants from their anguished mothers.
Lord knows, there are enough citizens cheesed off with the Government already, what with health cuts and household charges, without enraging a whole new swathe of voters by portraying themselves as something akin to the Child Catcher from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
Finally the wording was ready for release yesterday (though its moniker 42A sounds more like a bus than an amendment).
Enda, Eamon Gilmore and Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald all trooped into the press centre in Government Buildings before noon. The trio were at pains to emphasise the importance of the referendum……………………….
full article at source:http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2012/09/20/enda-praying-that-walking-on-eggshells-will-do-trick
I want to bring you up to date with our campaign to ensure that children who are in state care have a legal right to aftercare when they reach 18 years of age.
You will remember that we were lobbying hard under the last Government to get a legal right to aftercare included in the Childcare Amendment Bill. At the beginning of July, the new Government voted through the Childcare Amendment Bill – but without the change that would have made aftercare a legal right. Given the way that both Fine Gael and Labour supported this campaign while in opposition, this is very disappointing.
On the positive side the new Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, made a commitment to the Dáil and Seanad that she would consider whether legislation to guarantee the right to aftercare is necessary. It is depressing to see her repeat the same tired words of former Minister Barry Andrews that la ws that say the HSE ‘may’ provide aftercare actually mean that they ‘shall’. But Minister Fitzgerald’s progessive action in bringing forward legislation in many other areas of child protection must give us hope that this area will not be neglected. She promised to consider this issue in the context of legislation establishing her own Department and we will be working to ensure the case is strongly put to her.
If you want to read more about the Aftercare issue click here and follow the link at the end of the text, or to go straight to our analysis of the Oireacthas debate and its implications here.
In co-operation with ‘Action on Aftercare’, we are now looking at the wider range of legislation on this issue which exists in Northern Ireland and oth er countries, with a view to convincing Minister Fitzgerald that a broader range of legislation is required to ensure provision of effective aftercare to all who need it. In the meantime, it would be a good idea to let Minister Fitzgerald know that we are disappointed that the incoming Government did not live up to its promises in opposition. You can mail her here.
Finally, if you want to keep up with the broad range of Focus Ireland‘s advocacy work on homelessness and social housing, please subscribe to our new ‘Advocacy Update’ e-zine here.
Director of Advocacy, Development, Communications and Research
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