Letters to the Editor: Fresh violation of children’s rights

September 5th, 2022 8:00 AM

Share this article

EDITOR – Children and parents (almost exclusively mothers) are at the mercy of a flawed and insidious construct in the family courts known as ‘parental alienation’.

Parental Alienation (PA) has found its way into the family courts in Ireland in recent years and has been gaining some mainstream media attention in recent times, but not for the right reasons.

Rather than exposing this damaging and debunked pseudo-science for what it is, some prominent Irish radio and TV outlets have given platforms to advocates of PA.

In its recent submission to the Department of Justice on parental alienation, Women’s Aid draws from a growing body of international research basically concluding that PA is a dangerous and damaging concept which, when used as a legal strategy by abusive parents to undermine the voice and rights of the child and parent who allege abuse, it ultimately results in the child being placed with the abusive parent against their will and access being removed from the preferred parent.

PA is causing extreme trauma and harm to children and most exclusively mothers. Worse is the fact that PA is used in family courts at the whim of so called ‘experts’ who answer, it seems, to nobody.

Worse, still, is the fact that many PA ‘experts’ advocate for and provide a ‘treatment’ known as ‘reunification therapy’ or ‘deprogramming’.

This is effectively a form of brain-washing a child to build a positive relationship with the very parent which they have accused of abuse.

Both PA and reunification therapy are completely at odds with the Rights of the Child, as this quote from The Childrens Rights Alliance confers:

‘We know there can be major issues regarding family breakdowns, and these can have a huge impact on the child or young person. We believe all decisions being made in family law cases should be done with careful consideration of the best interest of the child, in line with the Child and Family Relationships Act 2015. As part of this, the voice of the child must be heard and given due weight.’

Ireland has a bleak history of failing to protect its women and children from abuse. Let us not allow this fresh violation to fester and grow behind a wall of silence in our family courts.

Fiona and Tim O’Leary


Youth deserve better sex-ed programme

EDITOR – Submissions are invited on the proposed revised Junior Cert, SPHE Relationships and Sexuality Education programme.

Having reviewed it, I conclude that it’s a more intensified version of our current model, which year on year has driven ever rising levels of “health issues”, victimhood, and relationship breakdown (assault, abortion, divorce, child-neglect). It is founded upon the 3xCs of choice, consent, and contraceptives; pride ideology on steroids.

The course overlooks the basics. Marriage (as one man and one woman, living in fidelity for life, welcoming children) is absent from the landscape of aspirations. Moral awareness ie, choosing the better option, so as to attain worthy goals, is likewise absent. Virtues, an essential foundation upon which to fully appreciate the other, and build a fulfilling, meaningful, life together – one which also contributes to the wellbeing of society – are also missing.  The absence of modesty – by which we establish personal boundaries, enabling us to relate and grow on a person-to-person basis – is most regrettable.

This programme seems to envisage teenage socialising as analogous to a kind of amusement park, where superficiality, self-indulgence, and evading boredom are the priority. It has no place in our schools. Could those who wish to follow this consumeristic approach to relationships and sexuality not do so after school hours?

Christianity is about sharing in the victory of Christ, who more than we ourselves, knows what is best for us, wants what is best for us, and makes this a reality in our lives.

This programme is intrusive, dismissive of parental Constitutional rights, religious perspectives, and is ambivalent to the individual child’s developmental-stage.

Our youth deserve much better.

Gearóid Duffy

Lee Road


Five wonderful days remembering Michael

EDITOR  – Myself and my wife spent five days in West Cork for the centenary of Michael Collins and were honoured to attend the events.

We would like to thank all the organisers of the successful events as I’m sure it wasn’t easy, must have been very time-consuming and put everyone under great pressure.

It was a most enjoyable time which we will never forget and we know that the memory of Michael will live on.

We would like to say a massive thanks to the people at Béal na Bláth, Woodfield, Sam’s Cross and Lisavaird who put their names to my Irish flag on the 21st and 22nd at the events which we attended, the folk back home here couldn’t get over it, and I intend to read the names on the flag every year on his anniversary. It will bring back wonderful memories.

Arís, buíochas le gach daoine agus b’fhéidir go mbeidh muid le cheíle arís lá éigin,

Is Mise Le Meas,

Brian Mac Namara


Co Down.


Share this article