Tuesday 21 November 2017

Giggs injunction MP backs No campaign in child rights vote

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE British politician who 'outed' footballer Ryan Giggs for getting a super-injunction has emerged as a prominent figure in the fledgling No campaign in the Children's Rights Referendum.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming is backing the No side because he opposes what he describes as "wrongful adoptions" in Britain.

He has warned that if the children's referendum is passed, the HSE will have similar powers to take children from their parents and put them up for adoption.

The Birmingham MP is named along with former MEP Kathy Sinnott as a member of the Alliance of Parents Against the State (APS), a group recently formed to oppose the changes proposed in the referendum.

No mainstream political parties oppose the Government's proposed changes to the Constitution which, in exceptional circumstances, would allow the State to take the place of parents who had failed in their duty and provide for adoption.

APS is a loose alliance of people opposed to the amendment, including fathers' rights and anti-abortion campaigners.

The organisation has no funding, according to its founder, Dublin retiree Joe Burns.

Mr Hemming last year used parliamentary privilege to out Manchester United star Giggs as having obtained a super-injunction to prevent the media publishing details of an affair with a Welsh model.

Details of Mr Hemming's own private life made headlines when it was revealed he was supporting two families, one with his wife and another with a mistress.

Asked why he was involved with the No campaign, Mr Hemming said: "Basically, what's being proposed in the referendum is to change the law in Ireland so it's much like that in England, where they can take children off parents for really stupid reasons and get them adopted."

Asked if it was appropriate for a British MP to become involved in a referendum here, he said: "It's appropriate for me to tell you how bad things are in England and say, 'Please don't make the same mistake'.

"But at the end of the day, it's a decision for the Irish people to make."

APS founder Mr Burns said he was campaigning for a No vote because he was "incensed" by what he called "failings" in the child protection system and does not want the State to have more power in the area.


He said APS had no funding, and pointed out how well-financed the Yes campaign is.

"What's going to happen in a week's time is that Ireland's going to be plastered with pictures of politicians who are supporting the Yes side and there won't be a single No poster in the country," he said.

Other members of APS include Athlone-based fathers' rights campaigner Joseph Egan and anti-abortion activist Nora Bennis.

Former MEP Ms Sinnott said she was acting as a voluntary adviser to the group.

Irish Independent

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