The Inishowen TD says such legislation can then be examined and debated ahead of the promised Referendum on Children’s Rights in the autumn.
Questioning the Minister for Children in the Dáil this week, Deputy McConalogue said the Government has no reason to continue to delay the publication of this non-contentious piece of legislation.
“The Government has promised there will be a referendum on children’s rights this autumn and that new legislation tackling barriers to adoption will go alongside this. If that is the case, why won’t the Minister publish the adoption legislation now so that enough time is allocated to tease out the details of what is involved?”
“We saw what happened with the two referenda in October when the Government failed to communicate properly with voters and didn’t allocate enough time for a full debate on the issues involved.
“New adoption legislation is a crucial component to strengthening the rights of vulnerable children in this country and the earlier it is published, the more time we will have to tease out the issues and ensure it passes in the autumn.
“Fianna Fáil published legislation in June last year to remove the barriers to adoption for children born to married parents. This would have allowed the Government to hold a referendum alongside the Presidential election last October to immediately allow for the adoption of hundreds of children who are currently in care,” he said.
He added it is almost a year since this Bill was debated in the Dáil but there is still no sign of the Governments legislation, and hundreds of children have spent another year waiting for the right to be adopted.
“I believe it is well within the Governments capabilities to publish this legislation soon, having had nearly 15 months to work on it. It is disappointing that the Minister is refusing to budge on this matter.
“By publishing the legislation this summer, it can be examined at the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children and we can secure all party agreement and public support for it before the Referendum campaign begins in the autumn,” said Deputy McConalogue.