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Ó Snodaigh calls for Constitutional protection of the rights of the child

13 November, 2006

Commenting on today's Supreme Court overturning of a High Court judgement last September which had ordered that in a child's best interests she should remain with her prospective adoptive parents Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called for urgent constitutional reform.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "This case highlights the need for a clear Constitutional protection of the rights of the child. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that the welfare and best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions affecting children but, like so many international legal instruments, if it is not incorporated into domestic law it remains little more than an aspiration. It is long past time to make the rights of children real.

"In January 2005 Sinn Féin made a submission to the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on the Constitution in which we advocated a Constitutional amendment that would insert an article based on the UN Convention that would explicitly detail the rights of the child. Unfortunately the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, PD majority on the committee coalesced to oppose a comprehensive article on the rights of the child. And in August 2006 in our submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Child Protection we again advocated the inclusion in the Constitution of a comprehensive article on the rights of children." ENDS

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