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New rules 'won't lead to family intrusions'

THE children's rights referendum will not result in any over-interference in families or "a blame game" against parents, according to a former Supreme Court judge.

Judge Catherine McGuinness, chair of the Yes for Children Campaign, told a group of legal experts last night that the case for constitutional change is undeniable .

Legal Aid Board chairman and family law solicitor Muriel Walls said that the referendum, if passed, would enhance the rights of unmarried fathers.

Barrister Conor Power said that the new wording will rebalance the Constitution to ensure the explicit recognition of childhood and children's interests.

"The marital status equalisation is the big one," said Mr Power who admitted there was an "obvious flaw" as the wording does not explicitly apply to cases in which the State may be compelled to act, such as immigration and refugee cases.

He added that the referendum could have an impact on the evolution of children's rights outside of the family context, including areas such as consent to medical treatment for older children.

Irish Independent