CollectionDepartment of Justice

File entitled 'Proposed Legislation dealing with Social Moral Problems', includes:
Letters to and from Mrs J. McKean, Honorary Secretary, Committee for the Reform of the Laws relating to the Protection of Women and Girls, 39 Charleville Road, Dublin, for example:
Letter, 15 October 1926, from Mrs McKean to an Runaidhe, Roinn Dlí agus Cirt, Baile Átha Cliath, relating to the number of deserted children and the number of 'nurse children', practically all of whom, she claims, are illegitimate. Her concern is the high death rate amongst these children.

Heads of Infant Life Protection Bill, 1924, concerned with licensing of maternity care, child care. In these cases Local Authority recognition is needed. Agents who find childminders would be equally liable as the person who receives the child.

Notes on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill and Affiliation Orders and Illegitimacy Bill. The Affiliation Orders Notes discuss the problem of forcing a father of an illegitimate child to admit his paternity and pay maintenance under Act 26 and 27 Vic Cap. 21 (1863). 'In justice, therefore, to many unfortunate unmarried mothers, who in this country are often denied a shelter by their own families and are frequently forced by circumstances to become recruits to the prostitute class, it is felt that legislation should be introduced enabling single mothers to obtain from Courts of Summary Jurisdiction affiliation orders against the putative father.'

Notes on the suppression of brothels and suitable reformatory treatment for girls under 21 'soliciting or otherwise in moral danger'. On the question of reformatory homes the notes declare 'It now appears, however, that the value of such treatment is very doubtful. Several societies which have made a special study of such problems expressed the view that such treatment was useless, that the girls so committed would almost certainly go wrong again. it has been suggested that such cases be dealt with by the appointment of probation officers under the Court'.
Another set of earlier notes on the same subject suggest a reformatory home for those girls under 21, who, if they prove unsuitable for such reformatory treatment, should be returned to ordinary prisons.

Memorandum on Law and Proposed Legislation dealing with social moral problems by the Revd. Richard Devane SJ, Rathfarnham Castle
'There are three headings under which legislation should be amended in order to deal with prostitution: (1)age of consent, (2) the unmarried mother, (3) prostitution'.

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Repository NameNational Archives of Ireland
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