Legislation to allow children who have died as a result of murder or manslaughter to be publicly named is expected to come into force in early May. The President has signed the Children (Amendment) Bill 2021, which now allows the Minister for Justice to sign a commencement order.

The issue had arisen as a result of a recent Court of Appeal decision about the reporting of certain murder cases. That ruling considerably changed certain long-standing practices related to how the media reports on child murders.

The Court of Appeal ruled last year that children who are killed in criminal circumstances cannot be named publicly after their death. The new law was rushed through following an outcry from families of murdered children after the High Court and Court of Appeal rulings on the meaning of Section 252 of the Children Act 2001.

This section prohibits the identification of a child in relation to any proceedings for an offence against the child or where a child is a witness.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee had previously said the legislation would allow grieving parents to speak publicly about their deceased child and remember them the way they wanted to.

The minister said the amendment was a “real reflection” of the concern for parents who have lost their children in the most tragic of circumstances and the impact of not being able to speak about their children in public was having on the grieving process.


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