Children and Youth Affairs

Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Children and Youth Affairs, Justice

* IRISH WOMEN ILLEGALLY ADOPTED AT BIRTH, DEMAND JUSTICE

* CHILDREN FAILED IN THE PAST MUST BE GRANTED THEIR RIGHT TO IDENTITY

At a Press Conference, in Buswells Hotel, today hosted by Clare Daly TD, women illegally adopted at birth, who have spent decades trying to trace their birth mothers and have come from abroad to try to meet the Minister, spoke about their experiences.

“For decades this country has failed its children”

Theresa and Maria

Minister Children and Youth Affairs Dail Eireann 19th September.

The Minister is right in that governments, religious and state institutions were responsible for decades of neglect, physical and sexual abuse of children in religious and state run institutions but the Minister is refusing to meet representatives of children utterly failed by the State during those decades – those children taken from their mothers and illegally adopted.

A number of these now adult women have asked to meet the Minister. These adults have spent decades seeking access to records, trying to find their birth mothers. They want the Minister to act to ensure the the safety of medical and other records in private hands – religious and other societies – which facilitated these illegal adoptions prior to and after 1953.

The Minister has refused to meet the women.
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Justice, Prisoners

Following on from Saturday’s successful demonstration in Dublin city centre concerned with highlighting the plight of Marian Price, Clare was happy to participate in the beginnings of an all-party group this morning, in relation to looking at the issue of prisoners’ rights concerning some very worrying cases in Northern Ireland at the moment, but with particular reference to Marian.

One of the first initiatives of the group will be to organise a visit up to the prison to see Marian and Clare is hoping to be part of that delegation. It’s quite clear from the evidence that Marian’s deteriorating ill health adds an urgency to the need to step up this campaign and both the Irish and British Government should take note as indeed should the Secretary of state for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland deputy’s.

Justice

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United Left Alliance calls for ‘No’ vote in Dáil Inquiries Constitutional Referendum 

United Left Alliance calls for a ‘Yes’ vote on Judge’s Pay referendum but reiterates call for salary cap for senior public servants 

The United Left Alliance TDs, Richard Boyd Barrett, Joan Collins, Clare Daly, Seamus Healy and Joe Higgins are calling for a ‘No’ vote in next week’s Dáil Inquiries Referendum. 

The need for an efficient, fair and transparent system for holding inquiries that throws a light on the workings of the state and its agencies, including the Gardaí as well as how the rich and powerful operate in this country and where appropriate bring out evidence and findings that could be used to prosecute wrongdoing is not contested by the United Left Alliance. The Tribunals of Inquiry we have seen over the last two decades have often fallen short on all of these counts. 

In that sense the government’s proposal that is being put to a referendum is a missed opportunity. In fact if it is passed the powers that will be bestowed upon the government to hold inquiries into any matter of its choosing and make findings against an individual or individuals is open to abuse.
If this amendment is passed it will be up to a Dáil majority – in effect the Government – to decide on the subject-matter of an inquiry and the balance between the rights of individuals and the public interest. This power should not be entrusted solely to the government of the day. A more independent mechanism could have been proposed, such as Article 44 of the German Basic Law i.e. “[The Bundestag] shall have the right, on a motion of one quarter of its members, to establish an investigative committee, which shall take the requisite evidence at public hearings”.

In a briefing on the referendum by senior officials in Minister Howlin’s department to ULA and Technical group TDs and staff it was confirmed that no legal aid provision would be made to an ordinary citizen being compelled to appear before an Oireachtas inquiry as a witness or as an accused person. In other words only the rich and powerful would have the wherewithal to try to contest through the courts an attempt by an Oireactas enquiry to compel somebody to attend and be adequately represented in an inquiry scenario.

 

The reality is that there is no equality before the law or in this case before an Oireachtas inquiry. In both cases ones ability to acheive justice or defend oneself depends to a huge degree on the representation one can afford, if any.

 

Referendum on Judge’s Pay

 

Regarding the referendum on Judge’s pay the United Left Alliance advocates a Yes vote from the point of view that we oppose the special status afford to the judiciary, as high paid public servants, regarding matters of salary. In calling for a Yes vote we also take the opportunity to reiterate our opposition to the massive pay differentials that exist in Irish society, both public and private sector.

 

Yesterday in the Dáil during the debate on reforming public sector pensions we reiterated our call for a salary cap of €100,000 across the public service. This coupled with a steeply progressive system of income tax which would go some way to addressing the massive pay inequality that exists in this country.