Written answers

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

Parental Alienation

Verona Murphy (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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49. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if a working group will be established to consider all aspects of parental alienation including consideration of a referral of the issue to the Law Reform Commission; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22812/20]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The issue of parental alienation is highly complex.

While there is no specific legislative provision regarding parental alienation in Irish family law, section 246 of the Children Act 2001 provides for an offence of frightening, bullying or threatening a child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child's physical, mental or emotional health or wellbeing. There is also a range of legislative provisions in place for dealing with child welfare particularly regarding the relationship between a child and his/her parents or guardians, providing the framework for a legal response to a wide spectrum of child welfare issues.

The Report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on Reform of the Family Law System, which was published late last year, considered the issue of parental alienation among a broad range of issues in the area of family law. While there are no plans to refer this particular topic to the Law Reform Commission, a Family Justice Oversight Group has recently been established within my Department and consideration of the various recommendations contained in the Committee’s Report will be integrated into the work of that group.

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