Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-15-Speech-2-191"
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"Mr President, I agree with virtually all the recommendations made in this excellent report. In particular, I agree that the future EU strategy should recognise the important role of the family as the basic institution in society for the survival, protection and development of the child. I also support the right of the child to maintain, on a regular basis, a personal relationship and direct contact with his or her parents unless, of course, that is contrary to the child’s best interests. I fully endorse the suggestions in this report to establish a child-friendly society, in which children can feel protected and actively involved. Paragraph 27 urges the Commission and Member States to take action to ensure observance of the rights of mentally-disabled children to access education. In an Irish context they have a right to an appropriate primary education, but this is subject to resources. In reality this often means they receive an inappropriate primary education. Paragraph 27 also states that mentally-disabled children should have access to the courts. There was recently a case in Ireland of a young girl with Downs Syndrome who had been sexually assaulted, and yet a judge decided she was not competent to tell the truth to the jury. He tested her in court with the assistance of the prosecution lawyers. During this test, the accused and his lawyers were present, but the girl’s family was ordered to leave the court. Unless all children can be assured of the absolute right to access the courts we will be failing our children. Finally, I should like to put a short question to the Commissioner. The recent decision to incorporate children’s rights into the Lisbon Treaty as one of the objectives of the EU will provide a new legal basis for children’s rights. Can the Commissioner elaborate – even briefly – on the practical outcomes he expects from this? I put this question particularly in the light of the forthcoming referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty."@en1
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