16 Dec 2015
Report of Special Rapporteur on Child Protection is a Roadmap for Action
The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes the release of the Eighth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Prof. Geoffrey Shannon.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “For the eighth year running, Prof Shannon’s report provides a comprehensive roadmap to assist the Government in reforming multiple aspects of Ireland’s child protection and welfare system.
This report brings a number of important new children’s rights issues into the spotlight. For example, Prof. Shannon’s raises the critical issue of access between siblings in care. One of the main messages coming from survivors of the Ryan Report was the detrimental impact of being parted from their siblings. Siblings should have the right to grow up together unless that is shown to be contrary to their best interests. Yet, for too long in the care system, the focus has been on parent-child relationships, often at the expense of sibling relationships. Prof. Shannon recommends a new provision be inserted into the Child Care Act 1991 to address this.
Many of the report’s recommendations will be invaluable for the review of the Child Care Act 1991 which is due next year. This Act is the bedrock of our child protection system yet it is almost 25 years old and the Courts simply don’t have the powers they need to keep children safe. This is not good enough.
Prof. Shannon also identifies a serious gap in the vetting process where there is no obligation on the Garda Vetting Unit to seek information from police outside Ireland when a person has lived abroad. Ensuring a person working with children has not committed an offence against a child is a basic child protection measure. Yet, at present, someone who wishes to prey on children could easily travel to Ireland to exploit this loophole.
The report also highlights the need for Irish law and practice relating to child pornography to be consistent with other states in the EU.
Prof. Shannon’s report calls for asylum proceedings to be accessible and effective in practice, including for child applicants. We must make sure that the rights of children, including the right to a fair trial and the right to private and family life, are not violated by asylum proceedings.
The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling for urgent action and for the Special Rapporteur’s report to be fully debated in both Houses of the Oireachtas.”
For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager
Tel: 01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note for Editors
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview
• The Eighth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection is here http://www.childrensrights.ie/resources/eighth-report-special-rapporteur-child