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McDowell must move to regularise status of families currently living here in limbo

16 June, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD sought a Dáil debate today on the urgent issue of the 11,000 families of Irish citizen children who currently await a decision from the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell on the regularising of their status, since the Supreme court ruling on the non-automatic rights of parents to remain here with their Irish citizen children.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"There is an urgent need for the Minister for Justice to keep the promise that he made to the parties at the first briefing on the citizenship referendum that he would move to regularise the situation of approximately 11,000 families of Irish citizen children who face either separation from their parents or effective exile as a result of Government policy. He cannot continue to leave these families in limbo and it is imperative that he bring Irish policy into line with our European partners with respect to the obligation to uphold children's rights to the care and company of their parents, enshrined in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, as outlined by the Advocate General in the Chen case.

"He insisted on rushing through the recent referendum on citizenship within 3 months of the very first briefing on it, ignoring many groups and voices who advised that the electorate were not sufficiently informed on the issue. Now, the very least he can do is provide for those non-national families who had children born to them here and anxiously await a decision on their status, by allowing them to remain here under humanitarian grounds." ENDS

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