THE estranged parents of a five-year-old boy have gone to court over whether the child should have vaccination shots.
The mother does not want him to have the MMR (which protects against measles, mumps and rubella) and 4-in-1 (diphtheria, whooping cough, polio and tetanus) booster shots – while the father does.
Mr Justice Moriarty has already heard evidence from the mother, who does not want her son to have the vaccinations, and the father, who wants the injections to be given as speedily as possible.
The case comes weeks ahead of a challenge to the outcome of the children’s rights referendum, whose main flashpoint was the test for the amount of state intervention in decisions affecting children.
The courts routinely allow hospitals to provide blood transfusions and life-saving treatment to children contrary to the religious beliefs of their parents, such as those of the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
In this case, the parents hold opposing positions.
The District Court and Circuit Court have already ruled that the inoculations should proceed.
The case was before the High Court as a result of a legal challenge mounted by the mother.
Mr Justice Moriarty said after the child was born in 2007, he was immunised without dispute and no adverse reactions were reported.
The parents’ relationship later broke down.
In February, the child was due to receive the two injections provided for under the HSE programme to children.
The mother had concerns about the substances included in the injections.
An impasse was reached and the District Court ruled that it was in the best interests of the child that the injections go ahead, Mr Justice Moriarty said.
The mother appealed the matter to the Circuit Court where the judge decided the injections were in the child’s best interests.
On the day the vaccination was to be administered, the mother applied to the High Court to be allowed legally challenge the decision.
Mr Justice Moriarty said the father, in evidence, had indicated although he felt strongly his son should have the injections, he would accept a verdict contrary to his wishes without seeking to take matters further.
The judge said he could not “simply furnish some form of snap judgment in favour of or against the injections. I am acutely conscious of the delay factor, and can only give my best assurance to the parties that I will do all possible on my part to expedite a just conclusion”.
Children’s Referendum: New article gives State stronger intervention powers – National News – Independent.ie
THE Government has published the wording of the children’s rights referendum.
The vote on the proposed new article 42A of the Constitution, which would be the 31st amendment, will be on Saturday November 10.
Here is the wording of the proposed reform:
1. The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2.1 In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
2.2 Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.
3. Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
4.1. Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings –
i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or
ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
4.2. Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1 of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.