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Question

168. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Justice if she intends to bring forward legislation to address the issue of parental legislation; the timeframe for the delivery of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25022/22]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I understand that the Deputy is referring to the issue of parental alienation.
As the Deputy will be aware, among the recommendations made in the Report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on Reform of the Family Law System was that consideration be given to whether laws should be amended to take into account situations where one parent is wrongfully influencing their child or children against the other parent, thereby creating unfair and unwarranted alienation that can be destructive and life lasting.
In that regard and to better inform further discussion on parental alienation, my Department arranged for research to be carried out.
The aims of the research included to:
- Identify the various definitions and characteristics of parental alienation being used internationally.
- Investigate what is known about the prevalence of this issue (in Ireland or internationally) through examination of the literature.
- Identify and outline the various approaches and responses being taken in other jurisdictions to deal with the issue of parental alienation (legislative and otherwise).
- Describe, outline and evaluate any studies which have examined the effectiveness of these various international approaches and assess the relevance of these studies to the Irish context.
I am pleased to say that a draft report was received by my Department at the end of November. This report was reviewed and my officials have engaged with the authors regarding some clarifications on the initial draft. The authors have agreed to undertake some further work on the report.
It is also my intention to commence a public consultation on the topic shortly. Both the research and consultation will, I expect, create a deeper understanding of the issue, and inform my Department’s consideration of policy and law in this area.
The best interests of the child will of course be paramount in any considerations.