Monday, October 1, 2012

Children's Rights Referendum

One of the most poignant letters on the Children’s rights referendum in Ireland appeared in the Irish Independent on Sept 22nd under the heading  “Children first”

The letter is reprinted in full below
This morning, I read the wording for the Children's Referendum. Published by the Government, it has been described as having "robust wording" by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.
I disagree. I'll be voting 'No' on November 10 -- for the children's sake.
There is really only one reason. It has everything to do with the welfare of the children.
Transferring responsibility for children from the parents to the State is ethically wrong.
Such a transfer will diminish the power of the family and increase the power of the State.

Responsibility is power. Giving the State more responsibility for children's welfare gives it more power -- power to which it is not entitled, power usurped from the family.

What is wrong with such a transfer?

Simply this: it is unethical, unconstitutional and gravely wrong. No family is perfect. The State, however, will not do a better job. When and if the family fails, other institutions (church and State) should assist.

But to fundamentally transfer power and responsibility is a mammoth injustice. It is a crime against the children.

The little responsibility that the State did have for children, under the HSE, proved disastrous. The recent revelations should finally consign any claim that it might make to power over children to the dustbin.

The primary right that children have is the right to a family. This must never be forgotten.

Enoch Burke
Castlebar, Co Mayo