Friday 28 July 2017

Bruce Arnold: This referendum is a waste of time and will do nothing at all for children's rights

THE Children's Referendum is a grave mistake, confused in its language, absurd in its presumptions, and back to front in that it sets the problems in theory when historically constitutional referendums have generally been the product of court judgments on wrongly-drafted laws.

Rewriting the Constitution for the vast and amorphous "common good" with views about "some children possibly at risk" is part of a new absurdity.

The chairperson of the Referendum Commission, Mary Finlay Geoghegan, is apparently explaining how this will help children. Her father, Mr Justice Tom Finlay, Chief Justice and president of the Supreme Court, had different views. In a judgment in a family law case in the 1980s, he wisely said: "The presumption should be that a child is best cared for within the family."

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