5 March 2019
Treoir, the National Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and their Children today called on the Minister for Justice and Equality to extend guardianship rights to all fathers and to ensure the National Mediation Service is properly resourced.
Speaking at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on reform of the family law system Treoir’s CEO Damien Peelo said:
“We welcome the changes to family law in Ireland, however significant problems remain in terms of how the legal system and family court structure operates. In Ireland, unmarried fathers do not have guardianship rights even if their name is on the child’s birth certificate. This is out of step with international best practice and with the North of Ireland where the law was changed in 2002 acknowledging father’s rights. “
He went on to say the family mediation service is grossly under resourced and that this has significant consequences for shared parenting and for parents who are unable to afford often costly legal services. Calling on the Minister for Justice to introduce a properly resourced Alternative Dispute Resolution system, Peelo said “we need a family law system that is fit for purpose in twentieth- first century Ireland and that everyone, irrespective of means, can access.” Treoir also called on the Oireachtas Committee to recommend to the Minister the immediate introduction of a public information campaign to inform people about access, custody, guardianship, and maintenance and other important aspects of family law. END