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Alan Shatter accuses some mothers of using 'children as pawns' in custody battles

SOME mothers involved in custody battles use their "children as pawns" and cause fathers to have "nervous breakdowns", former Justice Minister Alan Shatter has claimed.

In an extraordinary Dail tirade, Mr Shatter launched an attack on elements of the Government's Children and Family Relationships Bill.

He said the bill does not go far enough in terms of fathers' rights and severely favours the mother in the separated relationship.

"There is an enormous problem where people are estranged of the primary custodial parent, who most often is the mother, deliberately, deliberately, obstructing fathers from accessing children," Mr Shatter said.

Speaking during today's debate on the bill, the Dublin South TD furiously attacked some mothers involved in custodial cases.

"Using children as pawns. Going to war with fathers, causing some fathers to have nervous breakdowns. Destroying relationships deliberately between children and fathers," he said of mothers in some legal battles.

"And yes it's right, and the provisions about this bill about counselling and sending people off to mediation which were all in the draft bill are all absolutely right," Mr Shatter told the Dail.

"But the courts have nothing of practical use they can do where you have the obstinate, obstructive, venomous, hate-filled parent who is determined to destroy the other parent and to destroy the other parent's relationship," he added.

The comments by Mr Shatter are significant given that he compiled the drafts of the landmark bill before he resigned as Justice Minister.

TDs are continuing to debate the bill in the Dail.

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