Justice Minister vows to overturn law banning child murder victims from being named

Justice Minister vows to overturn law banning child murder victims from being named

THE MINISTER for Justice has vowed to overturn a law which means child victims of a crime cannot be identified even if they are deceased.

Fine Gael TD and Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, yesterday promised that she would work to overturn a law which bans child murder victims from being named, acknowledging that the law is "wrong".

Ms McEntee was responding to an emotional appeal from the mother of an 11-year-old boy who was murdered in the south west of the country last year; while the horrific incident gained widespread media publicity at the time, new legislation means that her son can no longer be identified in the media.

This ban also applies to those charged with their murder, and the child's family members, so as to prevent the child from being identified.

The 11-year-old's mother, who also cannot be named to prevent the identification of her son, yesterday issued an emotional appeal to the Minister for Justice to overturn the new legislation so that her son, and others like him, will "not be forgotten".

The woman argued that the legislation protects the murderers more-so than the victims, and says the man who has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for her son's murder should be identified "to be shown for what he did".

"He is a child murderer, and people need to know that," she added, according to The Irish Independent.

"We are not allowed speak publicly about [son] – it’s like his identity is just gone and brushed under the table," she said.

"We can’t talk about him and live on his legacy and his memory, and it’s very painful. It’s like everything is against the victims and everything is going in favour of the man that did this to [him]. It just seems very unfair.

"It’s like [my son] didn’t exist," she said.

Minister McEntee, responding to the plea on social media, offered her deepest sympathies to the bereaved mother, saying "None of us can imagine this mother’s heartbreak".

She went on to promise that "the law does not cause her and other parents more pain.

"Every child’s name must be remembered. No parent should be stopped from preserving the legacy of their children.

"This is wrong and I will change it."

Minister McEntee went on to say that she and her department have been working on solutions, and a proposal to fix the controversial law will be brought to Cabinet next week.

The news has been welcomed by another parent affected by the legislation, whose three children died tragically last year.

The grieving father, who cannot be named due to the current legislation, thanked the Justice Minister, saying it was "comforting" to know the Court Appeal will be amended soon.

"Every day that passes with it still in place causes untold pain," he wrote. "I truly appreciate your willingness to address this promptly."

The ban on the naming of children was brought in after a Court of Appeals ruling which found that the 2001 Children's Act should be extended to ban the identification of children who were victims of a crime, even after their passing.

The move has been criticised by many, including multiple families whose children died in tragic circumstances and now cannot be named.

The Oireachtas has previously said they will aim to change the legislation.