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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The reality of deadbeat dads

Last week, Minister for (in)Justice Dermot Ahern answered a parliamentary question in the Oireachtas about the inequality suffered by Irish fathers.

His answer was that existing legislation was perfectly acceptable in ensuring the relationship of children with their fathers following parental separation and divorce.

This is utter bollocks as everyone in the country knows. Unmarried fathers have to actually apply to be considered parents of their own children.

Fathers who separate from their children's mothers, no matter what the reason (short of maternal drug abuse or imprisonment) can expect to lose their homes and children in the family law courts.

All this inequality is based on two pillars of untruth - the outmoded prejudice that Mommy knows best, and the myth of the deadbeat dad.

That's why I must pay tribute to today's Daily Mail, whose reactionary politics would normally preclude it from depicting campaigning fathers as anything other than Spidey-suit clad loons.

Their article by writer William Leith is a superlative testimony to the reality of separated fathers' lives.

It should be obligatory reading for the single-mom agitators, who would rather see taxes spent on third party childminding rather than see legislation implemented to ensure children receive proper upbringing by both their parents equitably.

It should also be read by ignorant, complacent men in power like Dermot Ahern, who is only a marital separation away from doing the McDonalds weekend parenting shift himself.

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