Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
In politics, no more than in life, one will always have those who will disagree and they have the legitimate right to criticise. Others will agree and say they think something is a good idea. It is important to recognise that this is the first Government that has set up a senior Department and Ministry for children. That is a statement of our priorities in its own right. It took some time to get this right and to extract from the different Departments the essential elements with which the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs must deal. It is a fledgling Department in that regard. It is also important to note that there has been no adoption legislation in this country. The Minister is anxious to progress that in the first instance and, as the Deputy is aware, it is complex legislation.
The Minister is working with a range of groups on child protection. With regard to this issue, I will not rush in here and say we have it all ready and everything is as it should be. This issue is so sensitive and serious that we must get it right. This issue and the issue of the Seanad raised by Deputy Martin are two clear commitments in the programme for Government. I have no intention of rushing into the House with a Bill that is not complete and as comprehensive as we would like it to be on either. Therefore, I cannot give the Deputy a timescale. However, I will inform the House properly when the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the Attorney General and all involved have completed their work on it.