Minister’s measures could potentially stifle children’s voices – Ó Laoghaire
It has emerged today that both the department and Túsla have proposed measures that would see Guardian Ad Litems no longer receive legal representation when it comes to advocating for children in a court setting. Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has expressed dismay at these proposals.
The Cork South Central TD said:
“I’m somewhat baffled that these proposals can even be considered, especially from what appears to be an attempt to save costs.
“In 2012, we had a referendum on the rights of the child, a vote which passed by close to 60%. This measure being put forward flies in the face of that result.
“The best interests of the child should always be paramount in a legal case directly involving any children.
“Guardian Ad Litems give a voice to these children, a voice that went unheard for decades.
“Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon today said that removing the right of court-appointed guardians to legal representation would be a U-turn on the constitutional rights of the child.
“Justice O’Hanlon also stated that these proposals may engage the article-six right to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Minister Zappone must come forward and clarify her position on this matter immediately.”