Archbishop Diarmuid Martin backs Children's Rights Referendum

Monday 01 October 2012 23.19
Diarmuid Martin said a constitutional change would not be a 'magic formula'
Diarmuid Martin said a constitutional change would not be a 'magic formula'

Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has backed the proposed wording for the Children's Referendum.

Speaking "on a personal level", Dr Martin said he believes that the proposed wording tries to address the rights and obligations of all involved "in a balanced way".

He said that the role of the family remains protected, and intervention is only permitted in exceptional circumstances. He said he believes that a "reasonably good job" has been done in relation to the wording.

Catholic bishops have still to give an official response to the proposed wording of the referendum.

Meanwhile, former MEP and disability campaigner Kathy Sinnott has said the issue at stake in the referendum is how best to protect children and that Archbishop Martin "didn't appreciate the whole situation".

Ms Sinnott said the "devil was in the detail" of the wording and that the more she spoke to legal experts, the more doubts arose over the wording.

She said she would be happy to help the Archbishop with this.

No 'magic formula'

In a sermon earlier to mark the opening of the new law term, Dr Martin said he hoped that public debate on the referendum would reflect the same seriousness that marked its realisation.

Dr Martin said a constitutional change would not be a "magic formula" for all the challenges facing parents and children, and that a change in culture would take a long time to be imbedded within society and public service.

"What are we to say in a week when a text about the best interests of the child was promulgated and we find people being gunned down on our streets in the presence of their own children?

"A sense of public morality demands that voices are raised in a united and unambiguous way to express horror and rejection of the violence we have witnessed this week.

“No economic or political aim can be achieved through such violence. It is simply amoral."

Dr Martin said that anyone who had the possibility of ending such violence and to keep the perpetrators of violence from their "mission of death" had a responsibility to do so.

The Archbishop also said that the quest for profit and prosperity became separated from the serving of the common good during the economic boom.

He said that the current economic crisis was due partially to a crisis of public morality.

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