Real Fathers for Justice are mentioned in an article in the Belfast News Letter today. The online version is here. For those of you who don’t know, the Belfast News Letter is the oldest English language daily newspaper still in publication anywhere in the world, and was first printed in 1737.
The nub of the article is that the Northern Ireland members of Real Fathers for Justice have had enough of the ‘softly softly’ approach and are promising some ‘media events’ in the New Year, as they feel that very few policy makers and politicians are listening.
RFFJ frustration will hardly be helped by the Northern Ireland Court Service hiding behind the old canard that the paramount consideration of the justices, judges and magistrates is ALWAYS the welfare of the child. This is much too abstract a claim to be true and is aspirational at best. It should really have read that ‘even though our stated approach is that the paramount consideration is the ‘welfare of the child’ , that is an impossible standard to attain as our judges are only human, and can be biased, prejudiced and unfair like everyone else’ .
Well guys and girls that’s the truth isn’t it? Are judges infallible? I find it offensive if anyone is claiming that they are. Of course they have a hard job to do, but the height and size of the hoops that (mostly) dads have to jump through to get contact with their kids isn’t explained by the children being at the forefront of the courts mind.
My view is that like judges sitting in Diplock courts, the judges sitting in far from open family courts can become battle hardened due to the continual and withering conflict they have to deal with. Human nature seems to suggest that they may also get power hungry without much in the way of checks and balances.
Given that journalists are not permitted into the the Higher Courts in Northern Ireland that opinion is unlikely ever be repeated outside this blog.
Maybe it’s time to admit journalists in Northern Irish family courts?