Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ferns Report shows "church and state delinquency"

26 October, 2005


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has described the Report into child abuse in the Ferns dioceses, by members of the clergy, and the subsequent failure of both the church and the various arms of the state to deal with the issue as "a grotesque catalogue of church and state delinquency that casts a dark shadow over not only the lives of those directly affected by the abuse but also over the entire country."

Deputy Ó Caoláin went on to say "it is long past the time to enshrine the rights of children as individuals in to the Constitution".  He said:

"The Ferns Report is a grotesque catalogue of church and state delinquency that casts a dark shadow over not only the lives of those directly affected by the abuse but also over the entire country.  While those who were directly involved in this systematic abuse of young children over many, many years are ultimately responsible for their own actions and should be punished accordingly there has been serious criminal neglect on behalf of both church and state authorities, which allowed this abuse go unchecked and unpunished, and which must be dealt with urgently and robustly.  The cavalier and dismissive approach adopted by the Church and indeed the Gardai at senior management level, including the office of the Commissioner, and the Health Board to the allegations of abuse made by children in Wexford and beyond indicates a mindset corrupted by its own sense of infallibility.

"This shocking report highlights that fact that it is long past time to enshrine the rights of children as individuals in to the Constitution. It is time that we dealt with the issue of child abuse in a coherent, strategic and honest manner, so as to limit if not eliminate the risks posed to vulnerable children in our society." ENDS

 

Sinn Fein proposal for new Constitutional article on the rights of children as submitted to All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution

1.  The State guarantees to cherish all the children of the nation equally. All children, in addition to the individual rights guaranteed to all persons in this Constitution, are entitled to the special care and assistance essential to childhood. Each child has the right to reach his or her potential as an individual and as a member of the community.

2.  The State shall ensure, as far as is possible, that every child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, shall grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.

3. The State shall ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

4.  Children have the right to be heard, to be consulted in all matters affecting them and to access information about their person.

In all actions concerning children undertaken by or on behalf of the State the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration.

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