Seanad Éireann - Volume 187 - 22 November, 2007

Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children: Motion.

[1675]  Senator Donie Cassidy: I move:

(1) That a Select Committee consisting of four members of Seanad Éireann be joined with a Select Committee to be appointed by Dáil Éireann to form the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children to:

(a) examine the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2007; and

(b) consider the text set out in the Schedule to that Bill with regard to the following:-

(i) the acknowledgement and affirmation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children;

(ii) the restatement and extension of the existing provision in relation to children and parents contained in Article 42.5 of the Constitution to include all children;

(iii) the provision of legal authority for the adoption of children who have been in care for a substantial period of time if it is in the best interests of those children;

(iv) the provision of legal authority so that all children may be eligible for voluntary adoption;

(v) the provision of legal authority so that the courts shall be enabled to secure the best interests of a child in any court proceedings relating to adoption, guardianship, custody or access of that child and to ensure that such interests are taken into account in all other court proceedings in relation to that child;

(vi) the provision of legal authority for the collection and exchange of information relating to the risk or actual occurrence of child sexual abuse;

(vii) that no provision in the Constitution should invalidate any law providing for absolute or strict liability in respect of sexual offences against or in connection with children;

(c) make such recommendations, including recommendations in relation to amendments to the text in Schedule 1 of the Bill, as shall to the Committee seem appropriate.

(2) The Committee shall report back to each House with recommendations in a final report four months from the date of establishment.

(3) The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Minister of State at the Departments of Health and Children, Education and Science and Justice, Equality and Law Reform, with special responsibility for Children, shall be ex officio members of the Committee and shall be entitled to vote.

[1676](4) The quorum of the Joint Committee shall be four, of whom at least one shall be a Member of Dáil Éireann and one a Member of Seanad Éireann.

(5) The Joint Committee shall have the powers defined in Standing Orders 70(1) to (8) inclusive and 86(2).

(6) The Chairperson of the Joint Committee shall be a Member of Dáil Éireann.’’

Question put and agreed to.