Radical statist agenda behind Ireland ‘Children’s Rights’ referendum: former MEP Dana Scallon
DUBLIN, November 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Critics are increasingly concerned that the people of the Republic of Ireland are being duped into voting away their own rights in the name of a manipulative, ultra-statist campaign for “children’s rights” prompted by the UN and EU. Now former MEP and presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has issued a statement warning that the upcoming “children’s rights” referendum, set for November 10th, weakens the rights of both parents and children and threatens the most basic structures of Irish society.
Critics have focused mainly on wording in the amendment that allows state agents to remove children from the family and place them in care if they believe it is in the child’s “best interests.” The amendment also allows children to be adopted out to other families without parents’ consent.
Scallon says believes that the push for the new wording to the constitution is the government’s response to pressure from the European Union and the United Nations who want Ireland to abandon its family-centred model of law, and adopt their own radically statist position. As LifeSiteNews.com reported earlier this week, one legal expert has already warned that the referendum would make children the virtual property of the state.
Scallon pointed out “that strong family units have been and still remain the backbone of our nation.”
“Our Constitution’s definition of the family is recognized worldwide as the foundation stone of a stable society. The State/EU have no right to isolate the child from the family and remove parent’s rights as the primary educators and protectors of their children.
“The people of Ireland own their Constitution and only they have the final say, they deserve to be told the truth.”
Scallon said that the proposed change to the Constitution is how politicians are hoping to enforce the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
She pointed to the European Union’s Charter on the Rights of the Child, saying its wording was used as the model by the committee for the Irish referendum. The EU’s charter makes no mention of parent’s rights or of the family, and, according to critics, sees the child as an isolated individual, rather than as part of the family.
She quoted Article 11, calling it “chilling”: “Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his, or her parents, unless that is contrary to his, or her interests.” She noted that the EU document also includes no clarification on who will decide what is and is not contrary to the child’s interests.
She points out that since 2006, the United Nations has also demanded that the Irish change their constitution to include the wording of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC, she said, makes it clear that “the state will decide what is in the best interest of the child, not the child, or the parents”.
The Irish government, she said, in accepting these external demands, have already “refused to defend our Irish Constitution and above all, the rights of Irish parents and their families enshrined within it”.
Scallon said that the existing law already protects both children and parents, and that it presupposes that children have the right to be cared for within their own families. The new wording, she argued, sets up the state as “guardian of the common good,” automatically empowered to “supply the place of the parents” in “exceptional” cases.
This assessment has been echoed by the Mothers Alliance of Ireland (MAI), which has issued a statement calling for a No vote on Saturday. Although the government has denied that the referendum is about the UN Convention, the MAI said that the UN document is the “elephant in the room in this referendum.”
“The lie is finally nailed” the group said.
‘Yes’ vote publicity materials being distributed by Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s own department mention the UN Convention as a motivating factor in the referendum. A booklet on the referendum to be distributed to every household by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs page 3 states that the referendum was “recommended by the Constitutional Review Group which proposed a change to reflect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Ireland in 1992.”
Supreme Court judge Adrian Hardiman agrees with Scallon’s assertion that the current wording of the constitution adequately protects children’s rights, arguing that it is untrue that the constitution favors parents’ rights over those of children. Instead, the wording protects both children and parents from “third parties, official or private, priest or social worker,” said Hardiman.
Under the current law, parents are regarded as the “enablers and guardians of the child’s rights” and only allows the state to intervene in “wholly exceptional cases, where parents fail in their duty towards their child,” he said.
This opinion is also supported by former Supreme Court judge, Mr. Hugh O Flaherty, who said the provisions of the proposed amendment “are all—or nearly all—to be found in an existing Article of the Constitution, in our ordinary legislation or in court judgments.”
Scallon a singer and cultural icon, is also one of the country’s strongest advocates for the wellbeing of the unborn, even standing up to public criticism for opposing a referendum in 2000 that was billed as “pro-life” but that pro-life critics said would have further undermined the country’s pro-life law. For this she came under widespread criticism, particularly since her decision opposed the support for the referendum by the country’s Catholic bishops. With her opposition to the children’s rights referendum, she is again butting heads with the Catholic episcopate. Dublin’s archbishop Diarmuid Martin has supported the referendum, saying it contains adequate safeguards for parental rights.