| 4.2°C Dublin

new proposal Justice Minister Helen McEntee to raise ban on naming child murder victims

The Court of Appeal ruled last October that children who are killed in criminal circumstances cannot be named publicly after their death.

Close

Justice Minister Helen McEntee (Julien Behal/PA)

Justice Minister Helen McEntee (Julien Behal/PA)

Justice Minister Helen McEntee (Julien Behal/PA)

A ban on naming a child murder victim once someone has been charged with the offence is to be raised by Justice Minister Helen McEntee this morning after she described it as “wrong”.

The Court of Appeal ruled last October that children who are killed in criminal circumstances cannot be named publicly after their death.

The court found that under Section 252 of the Children’s Act 2001, reporting restrictions around naming children where an offence has been made against them, or where they are a witness, also apply in circumstances where the child is deceased or has turned 18.

This changed the reporting of child murders and included restrictions on naming those charged if that could lead to the identification of the victim.

This led to families who have lost children to homicide being "retraumatised" as a result of a court ruling on the identification of young victims, according to one victims' rights campaigner whose sister and two nieces were murdered several years ago.

The man, who cannot be named because it could lead to the identification of the children, said the court decision had "come out of the blue" and had "gagged" families who want to keep the memories of loved ones alive.

He said the prohibition on the identification of his nieces had "added insult to injury" and questioned why it was taking so long for the legislation to be amended.

"It is just another sad episode in the State being compliant in retraumatising families and not supporting them," he said.

"What is taking so long to change this situation where the voices of the voiceless are being gagged?" he added.

"We can't speak their names. We can't see their names and we can't campaign for what we want."

He said that around the anniversary of the killings family members would take the opportunity to speak publicly on radio and in newspapers to keep their memory alive.

In recent weeks, the Minister promised to bring proposals to Cabinet to address the court ruling, saying that it was “wrong” that parents were caused pain by not being able to remember their child by name.

“Every child’s name must be remembered. No parent should be stopped from preserving the legacy of their children,” McEntee said.

“This is wrong and I will change it,” she insisted last week.

Minister McEntee is supporting an already-existing Private Member’s Bill put forward by Senator Michael McDowell’s that will allow the identity of a child to be published in any proceedings involving the death of a child.

It will also allow the identity of a person accused to be published in proceedings involving the death of a child, and the publishing of the identity of an adult victim who was a child at the time of the offence.


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

Online Editors


Privacy