“The Voice of the Child is not heard enough” says Mary O’Rourke TD, the Chair of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, in the latest edition of the Children’s Rights Alliance Podcast Series. As well as her formal deliberations as Chair of the Joint Committee, she is also drawing on her own experience as a former teacher, mother and grandmother, and believes that we must listen more to children and is convinced that children’s rights need to be strengthened in the Constitution, calling on Government to commit to setting a date for a referendum.
Watch and Listen
Irish teens tell us how important their stake in Irish society is, arguing articulately against government cuts in education, the failure of Gardai to respect young people’s right to congregate, and advocating for the right to vote at 16.
Children's Rights Alliance staff interviewed a number of people in different locations around Ireland, asking for their views on children's rights. The responses captured here signal an overwhelming support for an amendment to strengthen children's rights in the Constitution.
Alliance CEO, Jillian van Turnhout, talks to Geoffrey Shannon, Child law expert and the Government's special Rapporteur on Child Protection. Geoffrey speaks about child protection in the light of the Ryan Report recommendations. He also talks about resources for family support and the positive impact that a referendum to stregthen children's rights in the Constitution will have on children's lives in Ireland.
This film tells the story of Caitlin, a young person of 17 who has been in the care of the state since she was a child. She is living happily in a state residential home and is studying for her final state examination. Caitlin knows that the State is no longer obliged to provide her with care when she turns 18 and she is finding it very difficult to study as she is anxious about having to leave the home before she sits her exam.
This film tells the story of 13-year-old Mark who has a progressive disabling disease. Mark was living in a house that was not appropriate for his needs and was making him more dependant on others. The local authority failed to provide him with a house that reflected hs changing needs. The Ombdusman for Children's Office (OCO) investigated Mark's case and concluded that he was not being dealt with fairly. The OCO recommended that Mark's case be reviewed and that the local authority review the way it assesses housing needs of this kind.
Kevin is a Traveller who was being bullied in school. He didn't know what to do and felt like leaving school. He was told to talk to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children (OCO). Kevin made his complaint to his school's Principal and the school Board of Management but the bullying went on. The OCO then got involved and the school then made serious efforts to address the issue of bullying.
Ted is President of Children Now, a California-based research and advocacy organisation. Ted talks about his organisation's Report Card and how the results are unfortunately very similar to our own. He recounts how during his childhood, he benefited from California's investment in children, with the creation of a public education system that was a model for the world. However, the child poverty rate has increased over the decades and is now double the adult poverty rate.
Maria Herczog is a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and of the European Economic and Social Committee. Her speech describes how different countries around the world approach Chidren’s Rights. She also addresses early childhood care and education, early intervention and the right to play.
On the occasion of the Alliance Symposium on 2 April 2009 entitled Children's Rights in Ireland: Are We The Yet, President Mary McAleese speaks about the history of Ireland's children, their voices, their future and the roles of all sectors of society to protect and promote their wellbeing.