With the Same Sex Marriage referendum behind us, momentum is gathering behind another referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment. But in this mood of social reform a group of people who need a referendum are getting nowhere, unmarried fathers who have no constitutional rights to custody of their children. Even married fathers continue to endure systematic discrimination in family courts.
What’s clear is that unmarried fathers need a referendum because they have no constitutional rights. We know that married and unmarried fathers are coming off badly in family law cases in the circuit courts because Dr Roisin O’Shea, partner ArcMediaton and Researcher at Waterford IT, observed over 1000 cases in those courts and conducted interviews with the judges themselves. How do you persuade politicians and the public to get behind a campaign that will change the constitution and the system so that shared parenting becomes a presumption rather than a bizarre exception?
What will it take for fathers to get the political attention they need to get justice?