By Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive
“The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly congratulates Justice Catherine McGuinness on receiving the Rehab 2010 People of the Year Award. Justice McGuinness is a most worthy recipient of this prestigious award. Her leadership and commitment to children’s rights is second to none. She brings her razor sharp intellect, but also her humanity, to every issue she addresses.
“Justice McGuinness has played a leading role in fighting for the rights of children in Ireland for many years. In 1993, in her capacity as Chair of the Kilkenny Incest Inquiry, she identified the need to strengthen children’s constitutional rights to ensure children are adequately protected from abuse. This was a watershed moment for children’s rights in Ireland. Subsequently, she was a member of the Constitutional Review Group that in 1996 recommended the inclusion of express rights for children in the Constitution.
“Over the past two years, Justice McGuinness has played an active role in monitoring the Government’s performance in keeping its promises to children, as a member of the External Assessment Panel for the Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2009 and 2010. She has called on Government to implement the recommendations put forward by the Alliance, and has lobbied to keep children’s rights at the core of the Government’s agenda.
“The Alliance’s Report Card process has been enriched by Justice McGuinness’ involvement, and it would not have the credibility it has today without her very fine contribution, both behind the scenes and in the public eye. I am absolutely delighted that one of our leading lights has been given the recognition she so rightly deserves today – not only for her work in 2010 but over decades.”
Jillian van Turnhout