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New Book on the Morris Tribunal and Police Accountability in Ireland

April 12, 2010 1 comment

A new book by one of our regular contributors, Vicky Conway, has been published this week by Irish Academic Press. Entitled The Blue Wall of Silence: The Morris Tribunal and Police Accountability in the Republic of Ireland, it provides the first in-depth analysis of the impact of the most significant tribunal in the history of policing in Ireland. For those not familiar with the Tribunal, it examined and upheld serious allegations of negligence and corruption in the policing district of Donegal concerning the framing of two men for a murder when in fact the victim had died in a hit and run incident, the planting of hoax IRA bomb finds, the planting of weapons on a travellers halting site and the planting of an explosive device on a telecommunications mast. Read more…

UCC Event: ‘Children’s Rights:The Proposed Constitutional Amendment’

April 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The Faculty of Law, UCC, will be hosting an event on ‘Children’s Rights: The Proposed Constitutional Amendment’ on Thursday April 15.

Speakers will include:

The seminar will be chaired by Dr Ursula Kilkelly.

The event will run from 12.00-2.30 pm in Room LG 52, Cavanagh Pharmacy Building, College Road, Cork

A limited number of places are available, so please register your interest in attending by e-mailing conor.omahony@ucc.ie.

Legal Practitioners: 2 Hours of CPD points are available for attendance at this event.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment on the Child has previously been written about on this blog here, here and here . It was the subject of a recent HRinI blog carnival.

Ecuador to Ratify OP-ICESCR

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has circulated the following report:

On Tuesday, March 30, the National Assembly of Ecuador gave approval for ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It is the first country to do so … Once the Optional Protocol enters into force, it will allow groups and individuals whose economic, social and cultural rights have been violated to present a complaint before the United Nations and seek redress.

Article 18 OP-ICESCR provides that ten ratifications are needed for the Optional Protocol to enter into force.

So far, 32 states have signed the Optional Protocol, which was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 2008. A number of other countries are currently in the process of organising internal approval for ratification of the instrument. Ireland, unsurprisingly, is not one of these countries.

For more information on the International NGO Coalition for an OP-ICESCR and the global Campaign for Ratification and Implementation of the OP-ICESCR, see here

Further updates on the BOR process: the NIAC report

March 30, 2010 1 comment

Following on from Cian’s earlier blog on the response of the DUP to the NIO’s Consultation Paper on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, it is worth noting that 24 March saw the Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee release ‘A Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland: An Interim Statement‘.

Given the political make-up of that Committee, many of those in favour of a NIBOR regarded the NIAC’s decision to carry out such an inquiry as an effort on the part of political actors unhappy with the NIHRC’s advice to have ‘another bite at the cherry’. Arguably, the limited and poor quality consultation document produced by the NIO in response to the NIHRC’s advice rendered this unnecessary. (For a discussion of some of the criticisms made of the NIO document, see here)

Whatever its reasons, the Committee itself does not make an explicit recommendation either in favour or against a NIBOR. Rather it states: Read more…

New Irish Criminology Research Network Blog

March 22, 2010 2 comments

The Irish Criminology Research Network has just announced the launch of its new blog.

Established in 2009, the Network comprises of researchers, students, academics and practitioners with an interest in criminology and the Irish criminal justice system. Members are from a range of academic institutions and agencies north and south of Ireland.

Members of the Network research and write about crime, criminal justice and criminology in Ireland and further afield. The blog aims to discuss issues of critical concern.

For more details, please contact Nicola Carr at n.carr@qub.ac.uk

The Draft Constitutional Amendment on the Child: Blog Carnival

February 26, 2010 3 comments

Today on Human Rights in Ireland we are delighted to host a mini Blog Carnival on the draft wording for a constitutional amendment on the child set out in the final report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children.

As one Carnival contributor highlights, the proposed amendment ‘offers much material for discussion in terms of scope, substance and process’. On the day upon which the Committee’s report was released, I wrote a piece analysing the draft wording from the perspective of the compliance of such with Ireland’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The contributions to today’s Carnival continue, and contribute significantly to, the widespread discussion and debate initiated by the publication of the Committee’s Final Report. Focussing on key questions related to the protection of children’s rights in Ireland, each commentator provides their perspective on issues arising from the proposed constitutional amendment wording.

  • Fergus Ryan of DIT addresses the implications of the proposed constitutional amendment in terms of family law reform.
  • Ursula Kilkelly of UCC considers the issue of the ‘best interests’ principle, which is explicitly included in the draft wording.
  • The Children’s Rights Alliance sets out its response to the Committee’s proposed amendment, arguing that the time is ripe for constitutional change on children’s rights.
  • Conor O’Mahony of UCC looks at the education-related implications of the draft wording.
  • Nicola Carr of QUB discusses the proposed amendment in terms of the rights of children in care.
  • Finally, Fiona de Londras of UCD and (of course) HRinI writes about the importance of a reflective and careful debate and the dangers of unquestioningly accepting the proposed wording

As always, comments are very welcome.

Ryan on Family Law and the Children’s Rights Amendment

February 26, 2010 1 comment

You can learn more about Fergus Ryan on our guest contributors page.

Waiting for family law reform is a bit like waiting for a bus. You linger forlornly for what seems likes an eternity, stoically weathering the elements. Then, just as you are about to give up, along comes a bus — and two more buses directly behind it.

In the past year, the Republic of Ireland has seen three major proposals for family law reform. The Civil Partnership Bill 2009, which is currently before the Dáil, promises a substantial new civil status for registered same-sex couples, with additional protective measures for cohabiting couples, same-sex and opposite-sex. The Law Reform Commission consultation paper, The Legal Aspects of Family Relationships, provisionally recommends some long overdue reforms to the law as it relates to guardianship, custody and access.

There is much to be welcomed also in the proposed constitutional amendment on children. For one, the proposed new Article 42 will apply to all children, and not just those born within marriage. The proposed amendment contains, in particular, a ground-breaking assertion that “[t]he State shall cherish all the children of the State equally.” This will banish, one hopes, the spectre of O’B v S, [1984] IR 316, a Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutional validity of measures that discriminate against non-marital children. The Court concluded that the constitutional preference for marriage trumped the child’s right to equality. This constitutional amendment would arguably reverse that stance. Read more…