Mother loses bid to stop child’s injections

A mother who objects to her son getting his

Mother loses bid to stop child’s injections

The five-judge court unanimously ruled that

the mother, who was not married to the

child’s father, does not have superior

constitutional rights requiring that her

opposition to the jobs take priority over the

father’s support for them.

Her claim of an effective “veto” over

vaccination would, if upheld, set at naught

the father’s rights and status as his son’s

legal guardian, Mr Justice John MacMenamim

said. She also had no veto on grounds of the

constitutional protection afforded to a

“family” because such protection is based on

the family “as established by marriage”.

In the circumstances of this case, where both

parents were actively involved in the child’s

life, neither had some pre-determined

constitutionally protected veto in

applications of this type.

The dispute was between two unmarried

guardians and the central issue was the

child’s welfare, he stressed.

The mother is strongly opposed to the

vaccines on grounds of the substances

involved. The MMR is administered to protect

against measles, mumps and rubella while the

4-in1 relates to diphteria, whooping cough,

polio, and tetanus.

The boy, born in 2007, is now aged six. His

parents, who were in a relationship for nine

years, have been estranged since 2009.

The child received some vaccines after birth

without dispute and no adverse reactions, it

was previously said.

The district court, on the father’s

application, in 2012 ordered the

vaccinations be administered on grounds they

were in the best interests of the child.

After the circuit court rejected the mother’s

appeal, she appealed to the High Court which,

in dismissing her appeal, relied on the

principle of best interests of the


She represented herself in the High Court but

was legally represented for her Supreme Court

appeal. The court made no costs order.

The judge said the nub of the appeal was the

mother’s argument she could stop the

vaccinations because of her unenumerated

rights as a mother under Article 40.3 of the

Constitution. That point was central but was

not adequately pleaded, he said, and having

analysed the arguments advanced, he dismissed

that claim.

In the circumstances, while not coming within

the constitutional definition of “family”,

they had almost all the characteristics of a

constitutionally protected family, the judge


The father continued to be involved in his

son’s life after the break up and, on consent

of the mother, secured a district court order

in 2009 making him guardian and giving him

“extensive rights of interest and

concern”.The father also abided scrupulously

by his duties regarding access and

maintenance and the mother and father enjoyed

shared custody.

As an appeal against the High Court’s

dismissal of a challenge to the children’s

referendum is pending, the judge added the

Supreme Court could not have regard to the

provisions of the proposed amendment.

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