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07/15/2015 12:00:00 AM


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Daly, Clare

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Bills

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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]

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Report and Final Stages

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887

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2

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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]\Report and Final Stages
Bills\Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]\Report and Final Stages

3 Part Topic Index

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3

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B4a

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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]

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Report and Final Stages

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Senator


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Deputy Clare Daly

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Deputy Clare Daly

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ClareDaly

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Clare Daly

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11/02/2016 06:33:22 PM

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Snippet Contents:

I move amendment No. 3: This amendment provides for that which the Bill is supposed to be about. The principle that detention should be seen as a last resort is not actually provided for in the Bill. On Committee Stage the Minister rejected the amendment on the grounds that detention was a measure of last resort as set out in section 96(2) of the 2001 Act. While that section states detention should be seen as a measure of last resort, the amendment would be more emphatic in stating it "shall" be. It provides that there would be no latitude whatsoever for judicial discretion in this regard. It may seem like I am nitpicking, but the issue merits it, as we are talking about the welfare of children. It is vital that we reiterate at every opportunity the clear principle that detention, including on remand, should be seen as a last resort for children. This is a clear requirement of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Apart from the principle that detention should be seen as a last resort, amendment No. 3 would also provide that in handing down a sentence of detention, the court should have regard to the child's age, maturity and best interests. Section 96 of the principal Act is rather loose, stating the court may take these matters into account. That is not good enough. The amendment would not interfere with section 96 but would merely strengthen it in order to ensure the best interests of the child would at all times be considered. The Minister was keen to emphasise this on Committee Stage as the Government's intention in the Bill. I do not see why there should be a difficulty in incorporating it.