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Voice of the child must be priority in regulation of Guardian Ad Litem services – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

23 January, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Speaking in relation to the Guardian Ad Litem services currently in place in the state Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD this afternoon asked that the Minister consider bringing forward proposals to reform and regulate the system as a matter of priority.

He said:

“It is clear to me that the GAL system has gone unregulated for quite some time now. It is, in my mind, necessary to bring forward a piece of legislation that deals with what is a complex system in the coming weeks.”

“I am aware there appears to have been some discussion about this in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs but there needs to be more action taken and I hope to see the Heads of a Bill to eradicate discrepancies as a matter of urgency.”

“The GAL service in the state requires proper oversight, with both responsibility and accountability for the service being provided. The disparity of pay must also be addressed in a way that does not allow for both too little and too much being paid to GAL’s.”

"While there has been some discussion on the cost of the system recently, and it is legitimate to take this into account, we cannot put a premium on ensuring courts are accessible to children."

“The bottom line here is that Gal’s provide a vital service to children and allow the children’s voice to be heard in a way that ensure the best interest of a child are always front and centre in any legal dispute involving them. This core principle must be maintained and improved on.”

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