Press Statement: Alliance Reaction to 'A Family' Case Report

Published date: 
26 Oct 2010

Wednesday  27 October  2010

“The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the publication today of the report of the Inquiry Team to the HSE in relation to the A & B case.  The findings of the report detail how the State and the legal system spectacularly failed the children in this case. The report clearly shows that Mrs. A and Mr. B successfully blocked the State from intervening to protect the children, by citing their constitutional rights as a marital family. The court proceedings left the HSE feeling powerless to act.  The HSE failed to follow up its own conclusions and deliver a safe home environment for the children, and therefore exposed them to further unnecessary abuses. The Constitution currently does not grant individual rights to children, within marital families.  It is clear that constitutional reform must take place, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that all children are protected. The Constitution should be reformed to ensure that the law cannot be used by those who wish to harm children and that the State must uphold its responsibility to protect children.
The inquiry team highlighted that the voice of the children was virtually silent, both in the HSE case conference notes and court proceedings. This is contrary to standard child protection practice.  Critically, the parents’ right to be heard was not matched by equal consideration of the wishes or the needs of the children.  Once again this highlights the need for constitutional change in order to give children in vulnerable situations a voice.
This report is focused on the role of the HSE in this case. Without doubt, the HSE failed in its duty of care to protect these children. The report also exposes the consistent concerns raised by relatives and neighbours to highlight the plight of these children.
We acknowledge the HSE’s apology to the children. We believe that actions speak louder than words and we call on the HSE to implement the inquiry’s recommendations in full. A family home must always be a safe place for a child to grow up, and if the family fails the child then the State must have sufficient powers to intervene appropriately.”

Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive

For future information please contact:
Róisín Fitzgerald, Communications Officer 01 6629400 / 087 7702845 or

Notes to Editor:    We urge the media and all commentators to respect the privacy of the children and young people who are the subject of this report.  We salute their bravery.  The focus of the report must be on the interaction between the state (HSE) and the family and should not be on the children.

The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.

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