Sunday 16 June 2019

Frances Fitzgerald challenges former judge on referendum

Childrten's Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O'Flaherty. Photo: Tom Burke
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

CHILDREN’S Minister Frances Fitzgerald has disagreed with a former Supreme Court judge's view that the children's rights referendum is not needed.

In his new weekly column - starting in this morning's Irish Independent - former Supreme Court judge Hugh O'Flaherty said there was no need for a new referendum.



"We need to cherish our children but we don't need a referendum to prove it," he wrote.



But Ms Fitzgerald said Constitutional authority was needed to protect children.



"We have had 20 years of people calling for Constitutional provisions," she said.



"Lawyers will always disagree. It doesn't surprise me that we will get different views on it. People have different views about how to approach the Constitution," she added.



The minister's position was also backed by the Government's special rapporteur on children Geoffrey Shannon.



Read Hugh O'Flaherty's new column here

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