Wednesday, 10 June 1992
Seanad Éireann Debate
Mr. Neville: I ask the Leader of the House to convey to the Minister for Justice our concern that the new Family Bill has not been introduced. The decision of the Supreme Court to deny women automatic right to the family home must be corrected forthwith. It is my view that the decision of the court underlines the failure of the Oireachtas to deal with the changing social realities in Irish society.
It is now six months since the corrective legislation was promised and I believe that the Government should return to women their rights to share ownership of the home. Irish society must recognise that work done in the family home by a married women, as a wife, must be taken into account by a court deciding whether or not she has had a legal interest in the home. A person whose spouse is dead is in a much safer financial footing than a person who has a broken marriage.
There is extreme concern in women's groups, individual women, and indeed men, concerning the matter. It is the job of the Oireachtas to ensure that progress in social areas takes place. The Minister for Justice has a duty to ensure that the legislation in the area of home ownership is corrected without undue delay.
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