Children’s charities insist that we need a children’s rights referendum in order to better enable the State to protect children. They claim the Irish Constitution too strongly favours parents over children, although as Justice Adrian Hardiman correctly points out, it strongly favours parents over the State.
Britain does not have a written constitution let alone a provision that protects marriage and the family and yet social services in the UK are consistently failing to protect children. For example, the recent Baby P case horrified the British public. Baby P died violently despite regular contact with social services and police.
Now The London Times reports that social services in Doncaster face an inquiry following seven suspicious child deaths. One three-month old baby was murdered. Another died after being found unconscious while sharing a bed with his alcoholic mother. Still another infant died after ‘concerns were repeatedly raised that her depressed mother was drunk while looking after her.’
Each of these cases involves either abuse or neglect. Our law already allows intervention in such cases, as it should. So does British law, without the ‘impediment’ of a pro-family constitution.
The real problem both here and in Britain isn’t the law, it is an inadequate child protection system that cannot cope with the number of cases it has to handle either because of inadequate resources, or inadequate personnel.
Fixing this system is much more important than fixing a law which probably isn’t broken although may need some minor tweaking.