I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 1:
New section: In page 7, between lines 42 and 43, the following section inserted:
"— (1) In this section "the Act of 1964" means the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964, as amended by the Courts Act, 1981, and the Age of Majority Act, 1985.
(2) Without prejudice to the law as to contempt of court, where the District Court has made an order under section 7 or section 11 of the Act of 1964 containing a direction regarding—
(a) the custody of an infant, or
(b) the right of access to an infant,
any person having the actual custody of the infant who, having been given or shown a copy of the order and—
(i) having been required, by or on behalf of a person to whom the custody of the infant is committed by the direction, to give up the infant to that person, or
(ii) having been required, by or on behalf of a person entitled to access to the infant in accordance with the direction, to allow that person to have such access,
fails or refuses to comply with the requirement shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £200 or, at the discretion of the Court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to have been given or shown a copy of an order made under section 7 or section 11 of the Act of 1964 if that person was present at the sitting of the Court at which such order was made.
(4) The references in subsections (1) and (7) of section 8 of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1940, to an order shall be construed as including references to a maintenance order made under section 7 (6) or section 11 (2) (b) of the Act of 1964 and to a variation order made under section 12 of the Act of 1964."
Section 15 of the Courts Act, 1981, gives to the District Court a considerable measure of jurisdiction under the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964. The purpose of the new section 5 which was inserted into the Bill in the course of its passage through the Seanad is to provide enforcement provisions parallel to that new jurisdiction. That is to say it will enable the District Court to enforce any order made by it concerning the custody of an infant or concerning access by one parent to an infant who is in the custody of another parent or a guardian by providing penalties for failure or refusal to comply with such a custody order or access order. Additionally, the new section provides in subsection (4) for the enforcement of maintenance payments which are ordered in guardianship proceedings.
Specifically, the new section of the Bill covers the enforcement of the following orders made by the District Court under the 1964 Act. First, an order under section 7 or section 11 concerning a direction regarding the custody of an infant or the right of access to an infant. Second, an order for maintenance under section 7 (6) or section 11 (2) (b) and any variation order under section 12 in relation to such maintenance order. The House may wish to note that the penalties provided for in the new section for breach of custody or access orders made under section 7 or section 11 of the 1964 Act reflect the penalty provisions in section 20 (2) of the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976, and also in section 6 of the Family Law (Protection of Spouses and Children) Act, 1981. Subsection (4) of the new section is on the lines of section 29 of the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976. It provides for the enforcement of any periodic payments which are ordered under the Act of 1964 by applying to any such periodic payment order or maintenance order the enforcement provisions of Part II of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1940. This is an amendment which arose from the discussions I had in the Seanad and which the House will agree completes the provision which was set out in the Act of 1981 which up to now has been something which could, with some impunity, be ignored. This is a very sensible and necessary measure which I have pleasure in proposing to the House.