Restrictions on reporting the identity of children killed by homicide have been removed following the signing into law of new legislation by the President, Michael D Higgins.
The Children (Amendment) Act was sent to the President last week after passing through the Oireachtas. On Monday the President’s office issued a statement saying he had now signed the legislation into law.
The restrictions prevented grieving parents from speaking publicly about their child in cases where the child had died through murder or manslaughter.
The amending legislation allows child victims to be named in broadcasts and publications and addresses an unintended restriction that was in place for more than 20 years, but only identified last October in a Court of Appeal judgment.
The court ruled that section 252 of the Children Act preventing child victims of crime being identified, should apply even in cases where the child died as a result of crime.
There was cross-party support in the Oireachtas to use a draft law introduced in the Seanad by Independent Senator Michael McDowell and supported in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan as a basis for dealing with the problem.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, when dealing with the legislation, said she was aware of the “profound impact the Court of Appeal ruling” and the “deep hurt felt by families around the restrictions on reporting the identities of deceased children who have been the victims of criminal acts”.