ONE of the main agruments against the proposed amendment to the constitution in The Children Referendum has been the rights of parents.
The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has strongly denied that parents would have to take second place to the state when it comes to deciding what is in the best interest of the children.
The minister said in last week’s televised referendum debate that this is not about giving the state more power. This is not about taking away the rights of the parents.
But it could be agrued that the state already has greater power than the parents or guardians. If a child has an accident in the home, and the parent does not know how it happened, and takes the child to hospital, the medical staff at the hospital can call in social services on mere suspicion, and socail services have the power to take the children out of the parents’ custody while an investigation is taking place.
It may happen rarely but it can happen. and the parents have no say.
This has been an agrument by the No side is this campaign: that social services already have enough powers and children are adequarely protected as things stand.
But talk about secret courts deciding cases is going too far. We have to put children first and check out every case with a common sense approach. Parents will always get a fair hearing and have full rights. It’s not a police state.
A Yes vote seems safe and right.