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Fathers' rights group holds Omagh courthouse protest

THE Northern Ireland Fathers’ Rights Movement (NIFRM) has said a protest outside Omagh Courthouse this week has helped raise awareness of their equal rights campaign.

Leaflets highlighting their call for fathers to be given 50/50 shared parenting following a relationship breakdown were distributed to members of the public during the two-hour event.

It took place as the town’s Magistrates Court was taking place inside the building and was only the third to be held in the North.

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Speaking to the UH, the organiser of the protest Aaron Gill, said they are also calling for reform of Family Law and an end to a system where they claim unsubstantiated allegations can be made against the non-resident parent without supporting evidence.

“We’ve got a really good response from the general public and a lot of people took the leaflets,” he said.

“Our message is a strong one and is focused on what we see as very emotional issues. Fathers are suffering health issues because of the law on child custody as it currently stands, and we also believe that children are suffering.

“Fathers who contact us through the Facebook page are reassured that they are not alone. The aim is to let fathers in Omagh and West Tyrone know that help is available for them. A number of them have already contacted us through social media.

“The fact is, we live in a society where it is the accepted norm that women should demand equality in the public sphere, while maintaining special privileges in the private sphere. We say that this is unjust and unfair and we are demanding equality now.

“All we want to do is see our children without hindrance or interference. We’re not criminals, but criminals are afforded more rights than Fathers in a court of law.”

Mr Gill said further similar events would be held during the coming months at every courthouse in the north, and that Dungannon Courthouse is the next one where the protest will be taking place.

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