Labour Bill to bring law in line with reality

Speaking at the Launch of Labour’s ‘Guardianship of Children Bill 2010’

The Bill we are publishing today will bring our law and practice into line with the reality of life for many thousands of families in Ireland.

Largely because of the peculiarly strong Family provisions in Article 41 of the Constitution, we have failed to recognise that very many people nowadays live in stable and loving relationships and families which are not families in the traditional sense.

The emphasis in the Bill is not on competing or conflicting rights of parents, but rather on the rights of the child to the care and responsibility of both parents - married or not.

It will bring Ireland into line with important provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and also the European Convention on Human Rights.

Taken together with the significant potential for enhancing children’s rights represented by the proposed Children’s Rights amendment to the Constitution, this Labour Bill would bring a very real advance for children. It would also confer legal recognition in a more equitable fashion on the responsibilities of both parents for the care and upbringing of their children.

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