20/05/2010

Ryan Report Anniversary Referendum Appeal

One year on from the publication of the Ryan Report into clerical abuse of children, pressure groups and opposition parties have called for a referendum on children's rights.

The Ryan Report last year exposed decades of sexual abuse and mistreatment by members of the clergy and subsequent culture of cover up by the Catholic Church.

A total of six interest groups, including Barnardos, CARI, Children’s Rights Alliance, Irish Association of Young People in Care, ISPCC, One in Four, Rape Crisis Network of Ireland and Dublin Rape Crisis Centre are holding a meeting today to discuss the report's legacy and are calling on the Government to take action in the aftermath of the report.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael's Seanad Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Ciaran Cannon said today that not one piece of new legislation had been passed to strengthen children’s rights in Ireland.

“In the aftermath of the Report’s publication last year, protestations of ‘never again, not on our watch’ came thick and fast. We were galvanised as a nation in our resolve to ensure that no child of ours would ever suffer the kind of horrific abuse described in the Report.

“When the need exists to pass emergency legislation, Fianna Fáil can set the wheels in motion at the click of a finger. This was clearly evidenced by the fact that in September 2008 we sat in Seanad throughout the night to pass legislation guaranteeing our bank deposits.

Senator Cannon added that the Government had drafted and passed complex legislation underpinning NAMA within a couple of months, "yet we are seemingly incapable of affording the same priority, through far simpler legislation, to the protection of our children".

Spokeswoman for Children’s Rights Alliance, Jillian van Turnhout, said that she warmly welcomed a tabled motion for debate in the Dáil today and tomorrow, seeking to establish a Constitutional Amendment Bill that will set a date for the holding of a referendum in 2010.

"It is now time for Government to take action and that we, as a society, unite to ensure that they have no choice but to act," she said.

(DW/BMcC)

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