- Minister McEntee received cabinet approval to support the Children (Amendment) Bill 2020 as the most efficient means of amending section 252 of the Children Act 2001
- Changes will allow parents to publically remember their child and will allow for the identification of the person accused of the murder/manslaughter of the child
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has received Government approval to progress the changes which need to be made to s252 of the Children Act 2001. This action is being taken in order to address the main issues arising out of the Court of Appeal ruling in DPP v EC and Media Outlets.
The ruling has prevented parents from speaking publically about their deceased child in cases where the child was unlawfully killed, and has also prevented the naming of the person accused or convicted of the manslaughter / murder of the child.
Emphasising the importance of the Bill, Minister McEntee said,
“As soon as the impact of the Court of Appeal ruling was brought to my attention I committed to finding the most expeditious way of addressing the issues arising. The profoundly negative impact the ruling is having on grieving parents, unable to remember their deceased children’s names or legacies in public, is very clear to me. I am determined to work to change this as quickly as possible and to give parents back their voice so they can speak publicly about how they want their children to be remembered. This is only right and it is only fair.”
Minister McEntee secured the backing of Cabinet to support the Children (Amendment) Bill 2020, proposed by Senator McDowell in the Seanad. The Government will now propose amendments to the Bill to ensure it delivers its shared aim. It is also important that the amendments do not give rise to any unintended consequences that might impact on the protection afforded by the Act to child witnesses or other child victims in the criminal justice process.
Minister McEntee has been engaging with Senator McDowell and Deputy O’Callaghan on this issue. Both have a strong interest in the matter and both are associated with Private Members Bills.
Commenting on the Bill presented by Senator Mc Dowell in the Seanad, Minister McEntee said,
“I have been working with Senator McDowell and Deputy Jim O’Callaghan on this issue and we all agree that a collaborative approach is the right one to take. Now that we have agreed to progress Senator McDowell’s Bill I urge all members, across both Houses, to do likewise so that we can get it enacted and achieve our shared goal.
I would like to thank Senator McDowell and Deputy O’Callaghan for their very constructive engagement on this and I look forward to working with them to bring this matter to its rightful conclusion.”
The Cabinet also agreed, in light of the urgency of this matter, that the Bill will be taken in Government time in the Seanad in the coming weeks with a view to its enactment as soon as possible.