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Sinn Féin will press to have child protection at the top of the political agenda

7 June, 2006


Speaking in advance of today’s sitting of the Dáil Sinn Féin Dáil Group Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said ‘Sinn Féin will press to have child protection placed at the top of the political agenda.’  He said ‘Today Sinn Féín will be challenging the bizarre decision of the Dáil to completely ignore the fall out from last week’s crisis.  Sinn Féin will be demanding that this week’s Dáil session is used to commence address of the wider issues around child protection that could not be dealt with by last week’s emergency legislation.  Deputy Ó Caoláin said four issues need to be dealt with immediately:

  • The people need to know how this situation arose
  • The Dáil needs to deal with the anomalies that arise as a result of the flawed emergency legislation
  • All the families of the victims of sex offenders who could still be released as a result of the Supreme Court ruling must be met by a government representative
  • Immediate additional resources for groups dealing with the issue of child abuse

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “Throughout the course of last week, people the length and breadth of Ireland were horrified at the release of a self confessed sex offender as a result of government incompetence.  And while there was relief on Friday at this individual’s re-arrest, this does not take away from the need to deal with the many issues which arose as a result of this case.   

“The Dáil needs to deal with a number of issues urgently and the focus has to be on the protection of children.  Today Sinn Féin will be seeking a full debate on the issue of child protection.  We are calling for:

  • An inquiry into how the Department of Justice failed to prepare for the gap in legislation which arose as a result of the Supreme Court decision.
  • The Dáil to deal with the anomalies which have arisen as a result of the flawed emergency legislation brought forward by the government.  Criminalising any young person for consensual sex is totally wrong and certainly does nothing to address the issue of consensual sex between teenagers.
  • Compassion and support for the victims and their families.  Even at this late stage a government representative must make contact with the family of the victim of Mr. A and all the families of the victims of the other sex offenders that could still be released as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.
  • Greater support and resources for those organisations dealing with the issue of child abuse – the experience of many TDs is that services in relation to child protection are under serious pressure due to a lack of resources.

 

“This week’s Dáil session should initiate address of these issues.   After  all,  the  Government  were forced into calling this week's sitting by the wave of protest that resulted from the release of Mr. A last week,  yet  this  issue  is absent from the Dáil schedule.  This is not good enough; it can’t be just business as usual.  There was a reason for calling this sitting of the Dáil and Sinn Féin is demanding that it be used to deal with this issue properly.” ENDS

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