|Posted on March 21, 2013 at 3:20 PM|
Immediately after the announcement of the Bi-Election in East Meath, the declared candidates were sent the folowing E-mail:
"Following the announcement that you are to stand in the East Meath By-Election, Equality For Fathers in Ireland would like to know your position on the lack of parental rights for fathers in Ireland, as highlighted in articles HERE and HERE".
Ben Gilroy (Direct Democracy Ireland) was the first to reply and said
"Years ago I had a child out of wedlock and discovered very quickly the corruption of rights of fathers and all denial of same in the monkey courts they call family law. So as you can imagine its something that's close to my heart and something I will fight for.
Helen McEntee (Fine Gael) called to my door and said she had not received my e-mail but would reply later. She replied that evening with the following:
"Thank you for taking the time to email me regarding you concerns in relation to Government Policy regarding Equality for Fathers. As your local candidate I will forward your concerns to the Mininster for Justice and request that he reply directly to you.
If I am elected to represent you, I look forward to bringing matters as these to the table for further discussion and to work on this with you.
However, her party and constituency collegue Regina Doherty made the same claim but failed to follow through on her promise after she was elected and now won't even ask parlamentary questions on the subject. I have yet to receive the promised response from the Minister.
I also met Eoin Holmes (Labour) at my door. Although he seemed to understand the issues, he has yet to return a written response re his position on the lack of parental rights for fathers.
UPDATE: COUNCILLOR HOLMES HAS SENT ME A LETTER (TODAY 22ND MARCH) SAYING THAT HE SUPPORTS LEGISLATION FOR THE "X" CASE AND (QUOTE): "IF THE X CASE AFFECTED MENS'S LIVES, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PASSED TWENTY YEARS AGO!"
Obviously, Eoin Holmes has been taken in by the claim that male politicians represent men only. I will write to him and remind him that a separated father was the Taoiseach from 26 June 1997 to 7 May 2008 yet separated and divorced father are continously discriminated against.
Seán Ó Buachalla (Green Party) replied as follows:
This is something that I have been actively trying to highlight through the Green Party since I first met Luke Martin and got my first understanding of the issue when we were both interviewed as general election candidates in 2007 on LMFM and I invited both him and Liam Ó Gógáin to address the equality policy group in Green Party central office a few years ago, which they both did and we were very grateful for their contribution and I took part in a discussion with Liam on his radio slot as well a few years ago about this as well.
I put a motion to the Green Party annual convention in 2008 on the issue and this was accepted by a large majority of the delegates. You can watch the youtube video of my speech on this at that conference at this link (the text of the motion is in the video description and I'm the second speaker in the video HERE)
Green Party policy is currently undergoing an extensive review and I hope to get the chance to ensure that prioritising this equal rights issue will be central to Green Party policy from now on.
I hope that that addresses your query and that it makes it clear how important I consider addressing this issue.
Seán Ó Buachalla.
Seán Ó Buachalla has shown an interest in the matter and has previously taken steps to deal with the issues.
This Bi-election will not change the Government but most voters will use it to send a message in relation to the economy. If you are a single, separated or divorced father and have a vote in East Meath, use it to send your message that you want equal rights and responsibilities in relation to your children. So far, Seán Ó Buachalla looks like the best bet and so Equality For Fathers in Ireland calls on anyone who cares about single, separated or divorced fathers and their children to support them by voting for Seán Ó Buachalla.
Any other responses will be posted if received.