For Immediate Release
17 February 2015
Children and Family Relationships Bill puts Children at the Heart of Family Law Reform
The Children’s Rights Alliance today warmly welcomes Cabinet’s approval of the Children and Family Relationships Bill. Overall, the Bill provides legal clarity on parentage, guardianship, custody and access for all families in Ireland.
Welcoming the Bill, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, today said that:
“The Children and Family Relationships Bill, once and for all, places children at the heart of family law reform. Children are cared for and protected in a range of family types and yet the law doesn’t recognise this. This Bill will ensure that the courts have much greater flexibility to grant guardianship. And the fact that these decisions will be subject to judicial scrutiny will ensure that people’s rights aren’t trampled on.
“Many unmarried fathers also stand to benefit from this legislation. The Bill will give automatic guardianship to unmarried fathers who have lived with the mother of the child for 12 months, three of which are after the birth of a child. Grandparents and other family members will also be able to apply for access to children – a particularly important point in the context of family breakdown.”
“The Bill also includes vital identity rights for children born through assisted human reproduction. We also welcome the commitment to ban the use of anonymous genetic material and the establishment of a Donor Conceived Person’s Register. We know the pain caused to the many adopted people who cannot establish their genetic origins. This Bill will ensure that these children will not share the same pain.”
For comment, contact Julie Ahern at the Children’s Rights Alliance on 01 662 9400 or mobile: 087 653 1069.