09/10/2009 – ref med: 012
Dear Sir / Madame
I am contacting your organisation on behalf of Real Fathers for Justice, we are a Direct Action Parenting Group, raising public awareness and applying pressure for long overdue changes in UK Family Law.
The 08/10/2009, a date that will be forever embedded in the history books of children's and fathers rights in Northern Ireland. Recognition of the hard work that has been done by RFFJ NORTHERN Ireland was finally recognised by the government.
RFFJ members Pete Morris and Hugh Mc Cloy met with Eileen Sung and her team in the castle buildings in Stormont, Eileen Sung heads the Gender and Sexual Orientation Equality Unit for the Northern Ireland Executive Office, and is responsible for coordinating and promoting policy work on gender and sexual orientation equality across the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and public sector bodies. Sung has recently been awarded a Fellowship under the prestigious global Fulbright Program that will enable her to conduct research at IRWG. Born and educated in Northern Ireland, she is eager to learn about American culture and how it compares to life in Belfast. Sung's research will focus on women's paid and unpaid work and the cultural and social influences that affect those choices, including the gender pay gap and work/life balance.
(Taken from the University of Michigan's institute for research on women and gender)
The meeting was a resounding success, it was undertaken that the research from RJJF concerning family law, domestic violence, divorce, child abuse, education, health and social issues will be addressed and feedback will be given to RFFJ on the issues raised. From this also we will be involved in consulting on policies that will be affecting the areas we highlighted and for the first time in the history of Northern Ireland a fully represented conference on the rights of children from a fathers perspective will be partially funded by the government and will take place in Belfast in the near future and will be hosted by RFFJ.
Further on from this Hugh Mc Cloy took the opportunity to have a quick meeting with the Human Rights Commission, what has happened today has set the wheels in motion for Northern Irelands to take the lead in all the issues highlighted by RFFJ and RFFJ will lead the way in leading Northern Ireland into parity in equality of rights in this country.
We entered this meeting looking for recognition of our research and left with three identifiable gains, it is a good day for families, for children for fathers and for mothers in that the Northern Ireland executive now have the ability to look into all issues surrounding family law objectively.
Quotes from the meeting
- "The family courts need to be opened up, there needs to be control in the family courts, the judges need control, someone needs to keep records of exactly what's happening. It should not be a dip loc court a man should be able to go in and defend him(self) against false allegations in a family court"
- "The family court is like a dip loc court one man decided your fate"
- "a child forms a bond with both parents it comes down to the children should have rights, a child should have the human right to both parents"
- "A victim is a victim, gender is no barrier, by denying a father refuge in domestic violence you are basically denying a child refuge, it is state sanctioned child abuse by leaving a child in the hands of an aggressive mother"
- "Parental alienation needs to be looked in to by Northern Ireland as it is child abuse and there is something very wrong with this country if it is not"
- "The amount of money that is being fired into family law and the amount of closures of hospitals cannot be acceptable in this day and age that money could be best spent on children when they are born. The maternity in Omagh is closed because of public cuts to run the family law court in Omagh probably costs ten times as much and yet it stays open that can't be in the best interest of a child"
- "Today is an opportunity for us to work through where you are coming from, maybe to clarify what you think and what your needs are as they may be two separate things"
- "Surly there needs to be a set of principle around shared parenting and what are the rights and responsibilities and I don't mean financial responsibilities"
- "We have opportunity we are here today to try and find where each other starting points are, there is going to be a limited amount of help and support for facilitation that we can give to you for the gender unit, in a sense in that we promote sitting around a table representative of men and women we encourage men and women to sit down together and I feel it would be great to have a man on our staff"
More quotes from the meeting are available and can be gained by contacting Hugh McCloy using the details provided. I will take this opportunity for the warm welcome form the gender equality unit and thank them for their time and for now what they will be doing to aid in children's rights.
Pete Morris – Regional coordinator Northern Ireland, Real Fathers for Justice
Hugh McCloy – Research and development officer, Real Fathers for Justice
"Today's problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them." ~Albert Einstein"