Published date: 
19 Nov 2009

Wednesday 18 November 2009


On the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse (Thursday 19 November), the Children’s Rights Alliance announces that the Government’s Implementation Plan in response to the Ryan Report will be included in Report Card 2010 – an audit of Government commitments to children. Report Card 2010, to be published in January, will include the Alliance’s review of Government progress in its response to the Ryan Report, specifically in its commitment to recruit 270 social workers; to end the practice of inappropriately placing separated children in hostels; and to secure the full implementation of Children First: The National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (1999).

Mrs Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Alliance says: “Words alone will not safeguard the rights and needs of children. In the Alliance’s experience, Government is great at nodding in the right places and saying the right things, but not so great at getting things done. There is a considerable gap, some would say gulf, between the rhetoric and the reality of respecting and realising children’s rights. In marking the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, we believe that it is critical to include the Ryan Report in our annual scrutiny of Government commitments to children. The Ryan Report demonstrates just how urgently we need to change our attitudes, practices and laws to strengthen children’s rights and reform our child protection and care systems. Through our Report Card series, the Alliance will play our role in keeping the wheels of change in motion. Scrutinising the work of Government is vital.”

The Ryan Report examined the horrific legacy of physical, emotional and sexual abuse suffered by over 30,000 children living in institutions throughout Ireland, during the period 1936 to 2000. The Government’s Implementation Plan has a pledged budget of €25 million and contains 99 actions to be completed within set deadlines extending to June 2011.

Mrs van Turnhout continues: “The Ryan Report Implementation Plan sets out a clear framework that has the potential to make a real and positive difference to the lives of children in care and in need of protection in Ireland. Budget 2010 must ensure that this commitment will be honoured. We owe it to the children of the past, and all future generations of children in Ireland to deliver on the 99 Government commitments. As an immediate step to build public confidence, an independent group should be established to oversee delivery of the Implementation Plan. This group should report twice yearly to the Oireachtas on progress – including budget allocation and spend – and must include a non-governmental voice. Currently, the Alliance’s tracking work is hampered by the lack of transparency. The Ryan Report deserves better.”

Report Card 2009 awarded Government an overall Grade ‘D’ in relation to its commitments to children. This grade was verified by an expert panel comprising Justice Catherine McGuinness, President of the Law Reform Commission; Fintan O’Toole, the Irish Times columnist; Sally Anne Kinahan, Assistant Secretary General of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Finola McDonnell, Senior Policy Executive of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation; and Sheila Greene, Director of Trinity College’s Research Centre.


For further information, please contact: Carys Thomas, Communications Director Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355 Email:

Notes to Editors:

• Launched in 2000, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse is commemorated on 19 November, in synergy with the anniversary of the International Day for the Rights of the Child (20 November), which rallies around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programmes. The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse is about creating a culture of protection at family, local, national and international level.

• Report Card 2010 will be issued on Monday 25 January. Report Card 2009, issued in January 2008, can be found at

• Previous reports have issued similar recommendations to those contained in the Ryan Report, including the November 2006 report of the Joint Committee on Child Protection and the September 2008 and April 2009 reports of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children, the Redacted Report of the Monageer Inquiry, the Ferns Report, the two UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reports etc.

• The full title of the Implementation Plan is: Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, 2009: Implementation Plan. It was published in July 2009.

Children's Rights Alliance