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Real Father’s For Justice in Belfast

Before I kick this off I would just like to make clear that I am not, never have been and unlikely ever will be a member of F4J, Real F4J, UnrealF4J, ContinuityF4J (Northern Ireland specific observation) or any other F4J incarnation.

My eldest son who is 14 now used to laugh when I joshed him that the group was called ‘Fathers’ for Just Ice’ as they were against warm drink!

I met Matt O’Connor in the Papermill on Curtain Road in June 2003 when I was on my way to Cornell Law School for the summer, and had stopped off in London from Belfast as my flight from Gatwick to Philadelphia was the next morning.  Matt, his lieutenants and droogs were  swigging champers or some other toff juice after occupying the PRFD at High Holborn. The mood was very ebullient and they were probably at the peak of their influence.

I prophesied to  Matt that unless they developed a political dimension they would likely wither and die within 2 years.  He had already heard of me and tried to tap me up to run F4J in Northern Ireland and I politely declined. Best move I ever made, as what happened at the end was far from edifying for those involved.

…breaking out of reverie, I got a report today that Real F4J (or RFFJ) as they like to be called were displaying a poster down at the High Court area in Belfast, saying something like ‘Terrorist and Separated Dad, Both Treated the Same’. I get the sentiment of being hard done by when you come into the family court machinery, but am at a loss as to the specifics of the claim in the poster.

Maybe there’s a Dadtanamo Bay somewhere?  Maybe there is Water- Boring, which is when you aren’t having much fund swimming with kids. Maybe it’s about Extortionate Rent-Issues? If not, the comparison is lost on me and I need someone to explain to me what the hell that poster means…

Get the feeling that the poster would have stayed as a very early draft  in Matt’s day…

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • David November 13, 2009, 6:07 pm

    Thanks for the mention. RFFJ (as we like to call ourselves 😉 ) aim to highlight the continuing challenges faces by fathers in the Family Court process. The demo today was a low key affair, but part of a continuing campaign which will once again seen some higher profile stunts.

    The need for a political group is well understood, but F4J, RFFJ, New or any other flavour for that matter are certainly not the correct vehicle for that endeavour. We already have FNF, and EPA performing political approaches. The direct action campaign groups must stick to what they do, as they actually help keep the topic alive so that the political debate and academic research gets good air time.

    Without groups like RFFJ continuing to push the issue through demos, protests, marches and publicity stunts, the issues will get pushed further back the on the political agenda and once more vanish from public gaze.

    I hope we cross paths in the future, and that you can see what role our group plays amongst the many other organisations that are all pushing for the same overhaul of the current Family Law systems.

    As for Guantanamo Dads, yes, it is a theme adopted first by us when we were all part of the original F4J and continued during Geoff Hibbert’s recent trial http://bit.ly/KSq91