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'hurt and anger' Dad whose kids died in violent circumstances hits out at court naming ban

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THE FATHER of three children killed in violent circumstances has told of his torment at a Court of Appeal ruling which means his children can no longer be named in the media.

The grieving father issued a statement to the Sunday World this evening in the wake of an acknowledgement by Justice Minister Helen McEntee that many victims and their families now feel "gagged".

Below is the statement the father, who has set up a number of projects dedicated to keeping his children’s memories alive, issued to this newspaper.

Because of the court ruling, we are obliged by law to replace any mention of his children’s names.

“(My children) have names and I need to be able to shout their names from the rooftops,” he said.

“I need to talk about (my children) and I need to celebrate their all-too-short lives.

“I’m only seeking that child victims be named so as to help us heal.

“Part of that healing is the promises I made to (my children).

“(Named child ) wanted me to help him with a YouTube channel, so the channel is now there.

“(Named child) wanted a snowman, so I’m seeking to run an annual snowman colouring competition in her name.

“I’m hoping to get support from a retail group on this project.

“Finally, I promised (named child) I would volunteer with his football club.

“I’m setting up a charity in (his) name which will support small clubs and societies.

“I could not do this without media support and if we could not name (my children).

“I never expect to heal but keeping these promises and celebrating them makes me a whole lot less sad.

“I cannot describe the hurt and anger I felt at the Appeal Court decision.”

Yesterday, Justice Minister Helen McEntee promised to move "as quickly as possible" on the court ruling banning the naming of children who have been murdered or abused.

She said she had listened to a recent radio interview on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Show with a now-adult victim who was sexually abused and who had the right to waive her anonymity taken away from her as a result of the ruling.

"She was extremely brave to come on and to speak in the way that she did and I think what struck me most is that it's not that she necessarily wants to put her name out there but the choice has been taken away from her.

Ms McEntee added that many victims and their families feel "gagged".

"I have had people come to me since this ruling, where children have been murdered where a parent wants to continue a legacy where they want to be able to name their children and remember them."

The minister said the ruling has impacted a huge number of people since it was made in October.

“I'm actively working with my officials to try and bring this forward as quickly as possible, whatever format we need to do it, so whether it's working with opposition and government colleagues, whether it's a single piece of legislation, but it is being worked on at the moment.

"The problem is the court have obviously said that a child's identity can't be published but also this prohibition would apply to the identity of the person who killed the child if that would indirectly lead to the child's identity.

“So in an inadvertent way, it is protecting the person that we don't want to protect here," she said.

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