Seanad Secrets Revealed in Children’s Rights Alliance Lecture Marking Work of Senator Jillian van Turnhout

Published date: 
13 Apr 2016
 
PRESS RELEASE
 
Seanad Secrets Revealed in Children’s Rights Alliance Lecture Marking Work of
 
Senator Jillian van Turnhout
 
 
Wednesday, 13 April 2016: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Tonight in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, Dublin 2, the Children’s Rights Alliance is hosting a celebratory lecture to mark the work of Senator Jillian van Turnhout to further children’s rights in Ireland as an independent Senator in Seanad Éireann from 2011 to 2016.
 
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “We are very proud of Jillian who was appointed by the Taoiseach as an Independent Senator in 2011 while she was Chief Executive for the Children’s Rights Alliance. This special event provides an opportunity for Jillian to reflect on her term of office in the context of children’s rights and to share observations on how NGOs and others can interact with parliamentarians to achieve change.”
 
Tonight’s speech promises to be packed full of reflections and learnings from Jillian’s time in the Seanad. Her speech will also reveal a number of new, previously-unknown insights on what really influenced and shaped legislation from inside the gates of Leinster House.
 
In her speech this evening, Jillian will recall several interactions with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny:
 
“I met the Taoiseach and he listened.  I explained my frustration with the system, with trying to put forward amendments and feeling I was working in an echo chamber.  He repeated the advice he gave me when he first appointed me “I want you to be yourself and be Independent”.   It was only when I reached out that he leaned in to help and provide support to me.”
 
  
Jillian’s speech also describes the rollercoaster of being in Leinster House with a particularly low experience being when she was “cornered and at one stage even pinned up against a wall” by opposition party members and independents who disagreed with her.
 
She is also scathing of the committee system:
 
“In reality only five or six members keep each committee going.  If you attend for one minute or three hours your attendance is recorded in the same way.”
 
 
Something she wished had gone differently and:
 
“…one of my greatest regrets in office is that we could not embody the same level of public engagement [as the Marriage Equality referendum] when it came to the Children’s Referendum… there is a strong public appetite to protect childhood but we haven’t been able to able make the link in the public mind with children’s rights.”
 
 
Tanya Ward continued: “Tonight promises to be a very special occasion. We truly commend Jillian for all she has done for children using her unique blend of political and negotiation skills. A case in point is her work on achieving an effective ban on corporal punishment as well as delivering many other changes by working with her colleagues on the benches and in Government.”
 
__ENDS___
 
The lecture takes place this evening Wednesday, 13 April 2016 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm (and reception afterwards) at The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, 11A Eustace Street, Dublin 2. 
 
A small number of seats remain available to media. 
 
To book your place or for more information, including interview bids, contact:
 
Emma McKinley
Communications & Development Manager 
087 655 9067 / 01 662 9400
 
Note for Editors:
 
- Jillian van Turnhout was appointed by the Taoiseach as an Independent Senator in 2011 when she was Chief Executive for the Children’s Rights Alliance.
 
- Social Media:
          Twitter: @ChildRightsIRL #childrensrights
          Facebook: childrensrightsalliance
          Website: www.childrensrights.ie
 
We would like to gratefully acknowledge the in-kind support of our member, The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, who have provided a venue for this event.
Creator: 
Children's Rights Alliance