Date: 15 November 2006
The Mother and Child Campaign has expressed upset at what they describe as the use of Baby Anne as a 'political football in the establishment's propaganda war on the family'. They have reluctantly decided that they need to respond.
In a statement, Maria McCluskey claimed that the Supreme court can rely on Article 42.5 to act in the interests of the child, irrespective of the marital status of the natural parents. She pointed out that neither the Minister for Children nor Fergus Finlay have claimed that the best interests of the child have not been served by the court decision in this case.
The implication that married parents can ride roughshod over the interests of children is clearly bogus as a number of court cases over the years has established that the state can rely on Article 42.5 where parents have manifestly failed to fulfill their duty to their children.
'Baby Anne's parents withdrew from the adoption process and sought the return of their child when she was only a few months old. As pointed out by Justice Hardiman, their re-unification was delayed by those who sought to deny this baby her right to the care and love of her parents.' she said.
The Mother and Child Campaign spokeswoman said that the media and self-appointed spokespersons for children had disgraced themselves in their relentless criticism of the Supreme Court judgment and the lack of consideration or respect for the natural parents of Baby Ann who had fought so hard for the right to custody of their child.
Ms McCluskey said that it was outrageous to suggest that because parents have not been able to be a constant presence in a child's life that they should permanently lose custody. 'Some newborn infants unfortunately spend months in hospital before they can go home. Are we now saying that nurses have a greater right to custody than parents? Are parents, forced by government policy to hold down two jobs and place their children in creches, to become joint gaurdians, along with the creche manager? Clearly not,' she stated. 'We must be careful not to bring about a stupid legal situation, just to satisfy political correctness.'
She further pointed out that despite claims to the media, the child's interests were, in fact, represented in court. 'The natural parents represented the child's interests as they saw best, the foster parents did likewise. It is absolutely laughable to suggest that a two year old infant could instruct a team of lawyers,' Maria claimed. 'To give a third party the right to represent the child does not', she said, 'empower children. '
'What it does is empower such an outside agency. This could be to the detriment of children as easily as might be to their benefit. This does not mean that a court should not invite appropriate parties, such as teachers, relatives, or neighbours to address it, in order to ascertain the facts in cases where it is claimed that parents have failed in their duty to their children.'
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