We’re almost on the point of voting in the general election. It has been a strangely de-energised campaign given the calamitous events of the past two years. I’ll be delighted when it is over and we can all get on with tackling the huge problems we face. I’ve been thinking about our wish list for the new Government which now seems likely to be either single party Fine Gael or a Fine Gael and Labour coalition.
Over the past eighteen months the Saving Childhood group, of which we are a member, has had a number of meetings with the leaders and spokespersons of Fine Gael and of Labour. We have asked for commitments regarding a Referendum on children’s rights and on other key child protection measures. These include placing the Children First Guidelines on a statutory footing, introducing legislation to allow the sharing of soft information about sex offenders among responsible agencies and legislation regarding the age of consent. We have found both Fine Gael and Labour to be well informed on these issues and both parties have given undertakings to address these concerns if in power.
We all know what needs to be done. The new Government will have a real opportunity to tackle child sexual abuse in a meaningful and effective manner after years of official procrastination. We will just have to wait and see.