| 17.1°C Dublin

'Hurt and exhausted' Dad of three kids who died violently 'distraught' that they still cannot be named despite law change

The heartbroken dad’s comments came as a controversial law that stopped parents from publicly commemorating children who had died in violent circumstances was abolished.

Close

stock image

stock image

stock image

THE FATHER of three children killed in violent circumstances has expressed his ‘hurt’ that they still cannot be named - despite the lifting of a ban on naming child victims of crime.

Posting on Twitter, the heartbroken father wrote: “Some parents are being told that we still cannot name our children publicly.

“Some judges decided to impose additional orders on top of the Children’s Act so I’ll have to pay for a separate legal challenge.

“Honestly distraught at the thought. Hurt and exhausted.”

The heartbroken dad’s comments came yesterday as a controversial law that stopped parents from publicly commemorating children who had died in violent circumstances was abolished.

Children such as footballer Josh Dunne (16), schoolgirl Ana Kriegel (14) and Drogheda teenager Keane Mulready-Woods (17) can now be named in the media again.

A court ruling last year angered families who could no longer speak publicly about their deceased child.

Over the past eight months, minors killed in the most tragic of circumstances were anonymised and their names effectively erased from the public record.

An amendment to the Children’s Act, which received cross-party support, came into effect at midnight, having being signed off by President Michael D Higgins and Justice Minister Helen McEntee last month.

However, due to specific court orders made since the initial ruling, many children still cannot be named until these orders are challenged.

The issue began in October 2019 when prosecutors argued that a Dublin woman charged with the murder of her daughter should not be named to protect the child’s identity.

The argument was made on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, whose office in previous months had prosecuted several high-profile cases involving identified children.

Various media groups and publications challenged the ruling and argued that Section 252 of the Children’s Act did not explicitly say whether it related to a deceased child and was to be reasonably read as protecting living children.

Close

Children such as Ana Kriegel (14) can now be named in the media again.

Children such as Ana Kriegel (14) can now be named in the media again.

Children such as Ana Kriegel (14) can now be named in the media again.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

The presiding judge said the act, which had been in effect for 18 years, was clear in its meaning and that it referred to living and dead children.

The Dublin woman (44) was later found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and, despite being identified when first charged, her name cannot be reported at this time.

Last October, the Court of Appeal upheld this ruling.

It meant children killed in violent circumstances could not be named if a person was charged over their death.

This happened in the case of Josh Dunne (16), a talented footballer who died following a stabbing in Dublin last January.

A man is currently before the courts charged with his murder, but for the past five months Josh could not be identified.

There were other instances where children murdered before the ruling who had been publicly named in news and social media had to be anonymised overnight.

Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel (14), who was murdered by two teenagers in 2018, could no longer be named, nor could Keane Mulready-Woods (17), who was murdered and dismembered in January last year.

The law has now been amended, with Ms McEntee saying a family’s right to name their child publicly has been restored.

While this is true in principle, specific orders made by judges in the past eight months mean certain children must be anonymised until those orders are appealed.

This happened in the murder of two children and their mother in Dublin last year.

A man is currently before the courts charged with murder, but a ruling made by the judge who first heard the case means that, despite the law being amended, they still cannot be named.

In a separate case in January, a man was sentenced over the murder of his 11-year-old nephew.

The trial judged ordered that the child victim must also remain anonymous, which stays in effect until challenged.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan, who helped draft the bill with Independent senator Michael McDowell, said he was relieved the legislation had passed.

He added: “The ban on naming children who were unlawfully killed caused huge suffering and stress for their families.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy