Geraldine Keehan, head of the Childcare department, was invited to speak at the Barnardos Conference held on the 29th May 2013 in Dublin entitled ‘What about me? Barnardos’ Vision for Family Law Reform’. Geraldine joined an esteemed panel of speakers to include Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos, and Barnardos’ Head of Advocacy, Catherine Joyce.
Geraldine called for proper funding for the soon to be created Child and Family Law Support Agency under the auspices of Minister Frances Fitzgerald. She also called for proper funding to be in place in relation to the new Family Court Structure as proposed by Minister Alan Shatter.
In addressing the Conference, Geraldine recommended legal reform in relation to children whose parents are separating. She said that there would be huge need to ensure that their views are heard as the impact of legal proceedings when their parents were separating was difficult for them. She referred to research conducted by Cardiff University Law School – KIDS (Kids in Divorce Study), which found that many children felt marginalised, lonely and isolated as their parents separated. It was vitally important to ensure that children did not remain invisible in the contest of Judicial Separation/Divorce and she proposed that the appointment of the Guardian ad Litem for children could ameliorate the profound difficulties which children experienced as their parents separated. She stated that society had an obligation to ensure that we act in the best interests of children, and that we had an obligation under both international and domestic law to do so.
For further information on the conference please see What About Me? Barnardos' Vision for Family Law Reform and contact Geraldine Keehan, Partner in our family law group.
11 June 2013