Thursday 11 October 2012: For immediate release
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, joins the Children’s Rights Alliance in Dublin today, to rally its 100-strong membership to mobilise a YES vote in the Children’s Referendum on Saturday 10 November 2012. Despite overwhelming support for the Children’s Referendum, the Alliance has real fears of a low turnout or a NO vote, which would keep Ireland frozen in a system that isn’t working for children. It would also have a knock-on impact, compromising future progress for children, particularly in relation to the Budget that will take place in a matter of weeks following polling day.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Alliance members need to rally the troops and get out a strong YES vote. This is our opportunity to loudly declare that children matter. If we fail to win this referendum, progress on children’s rights issues will freeze, and much needed legislation will stagnate. A weak YES vote limping over the line will also have serious implications for us, as children’s rights campaigners, who continue to work for a better deal for children – particularly in the run up to the Budget in December. We all have a responsibility to ensure we create a society where children are respected, protected and listened to, and this Children’s Referendum is a once in a generation opportunity to make a stand and help Ireland become one of the best places in the world to be a child. Let’s all work together to bring home a YES vote.”
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, says: "This referendum has been called for by legal, political and civic groups, including many members of the Children's Rights Alliance, since the Kilkenny Incest Case in 1993. This Government has delivered on its promise to children and proposed an amendment which has drawn support from a broad cross-section of society. This referendum is about protecting children, supporting families, reducing inequalities in adoption and recognising children in their own right. It is now time to throw all our energies into explaining why this referendum will make a real difference to the lives of children. We need to speak to our families, friends, neighbours and communities to bring home a strong and resounding YES vote on Saturday 10 November 2012.”
The Alliance is part of the Yes for Children campaign and believes this referendum is an historic opportunity for the People of Ireland to better protect, respect and listen to children. The Alliance is calling for a YES vote as it will:
- Ensure that the Constitution, for the first time, takes a child-centred approach to the protection of all children and allow the State to better support families who are struggling, rather than wait for a situation to reach crisis point.
- Allow up to 2,000 children, currently in long-term State care, the opportunity to be adopted and given a second chance at a loving, stable and permanent family.
- Ensure that judges in child care, adoption, guardianship, custody and access cases now make decisions in the best interests of the child.
- Ensure that judges will listen to the views of children when making decisions in child care, adoption, guardianship, custody and access cases.
- Set out how we, as a country, now view and value children and move beyond the damning history of child abuse in Ireland.
Notes to Editor:
- The event will take place in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, on Thursday 11 October 2012, from 2.15pm.
- The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, will address the members’ meeting at 2.30pm and will explain her journey in securing the Children’s Referendum. Questions will follow the Minister’s speech.
- Photographs for free reproduction will be circulated to picture desks.
- The Children’s Rights Alliance is part of the Yes for Children national campaign, also led by Barnardos, the ISPCC and Campaign for Children, which is calling for a YES vote in the Children’s Referendum. Yes for Children believes this referendum is an historic opportunity to ensure that this generation, and future generations, of children in Ireland are better protected, respected and heard.
- For further details about the Yes for Children campaign, go to www.yesforchildren.ie