Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (615)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

615. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice if she will address the issue of parent alienation; her plans to address same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6599/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am aware that increasing attention is being drawn to the area of certain family relationships termed parental alienation. Indeed, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality Report on Reform of the Family Law System includes a recommendation that consideration be given as 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.

This is a very complex area and I am planning for research to be carried out on parental alienation by my Department this year.

The Deputy will be aware that Government is committed to modernising the operation of the Family Justice system, to ensure we have more efficient and user-friendly family court system that puts the family at the centre of its work. In parallel with the establishment of a dedicated Family Court structure as envisaged by the forthcoming Family Court Bill, my Department has also established Family Justice Oversight Group which will agree a high-level vision and key medium and longer-term objectives for the development of a national family justice system. The development of sensible, comprehensive and sensitive family law procedures, particularly for vulnerable families, will be central to the new system.