Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s YES for Children’s Rights in the Constitution campaign, the party’s spokesperson on children, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD advised that Sinn Féin elected representatives and party activists will engage proactively in promoting a Yes vote across all constituencies.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Sinn Féin is calling on the electorate to vote YES for children’s rights in the referendum on Saturday 10 November.
“Placing children’s rights in the Constitution has been a Sinn Féin demand over many years. We believe that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child should be the minimum standard for children’s rights in any legal system and we continue to press for its incorporation into Irish domestic law.
“While the formula of words now proposed falls far short of our policy objectives on children’s rights and of the agreed wording presented by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, published in February 2010, it is nevertheless an important and worthwhile proposal deserving of our support.
o It affirms for the first time in the Constitution that children have rights.
o It establishes that the best interests of the child are paramount in all matters concerning the child.
o It states that the view of the child must be heard in all judicial cases concerning the child’s care, adoption, guardianship, custody and access.
o It ensures that the State will have both the duty and the power to intervene on behalf of all children at risk, regardless of their parents’ marital status.
o It will, for the first time, allow for the adoption of any child regardless of the marital status of their birth parents, affording them full integration into a loving, supporting, family relationship.
“This proposed amendment, if adopted, will not achieve its stated intent if Government fails to adequately resource the essential support services for children and for families. We continually press the appropriate Ministers on the importance of increased provision for child protection, including additional child dedicated social workers.
“While this is not the amendment we in Sinn Féin would have liked to present, this Government crafted wording is still worthy of our support and of the electorate’s endorsement.
“We in Sinn Féin see it as a beginning, a basis on which to build.
“Accordingly, over the next two weeks, our elected representatives and party activists will be distributing leaflets, erecting posters and engaging with voters across all 43 constituencies
urging a YES vote on 10 November.
“Votáil tá ar an 10ú do mhí na Samhna chun chinntiú go mbeidh paistí an náisiún á chaomhnú go cothrom.”