Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan, has welcomed the publication by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, of the 31st Amendment to the Constitution Bill which sets out the proposed wording for the Children’s Referendum, which is taking place on Saturday, November 10th.
Minister Fitzgerald also published the accompanying Draft Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2012 which she will seek to enact on the passing of the Referendum.
Deputy Coonan said: “I very much welcome the publication of the wording for the Children’s Referendum which is taking place on November 10th. This Referendum will recognise children’s rights individually and provide them with certain protections from the State.
“The Children’s Referendum proposes a constitutional change based on protecting children, supporting families, removing inequalities in adoption and recognising children in their own right. For children at risk, it will ensure that they are protected from harm. It will allow for children to be adopted, irrespective of his or her birth status, and it will also provide that the rights and protections enjoyed by children are to be enjoyed by all, irrespective of their parent’s marital status,” continued Noel.
“I would like thank Minister Fitzgerald for all of her hard work and dedication over the last 18 months in bringing this to fruition. On being elected to office, this Government stated from the outset that it would address the serious matter of ensuring that each and every child in this country is protected. For far too long, many a blind eye was turned at the horrific abuse suffered by children right across the country.
“By setting up a Department for Children and Youth Affairs and tasking it with this important mandate, we are better protecting our children from any future harm by addressing the many issues that both children and parents have faced on a daily basis for many years in this country. Our children are our future and it is up to us to ensure that they are protected and that they can enjoy the childhood they deserve with loving families around them,” concluded the local TD.