Published date: 
2 Nov 2009

Sunday 1 November 2009


A seven-minute, vox pop podcast conducted by the Children’s Rights Alliance, available from Monday 2 November on the Children’s Rights Alliance web site (, signals overwhelming public support for a referendum to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution.

Mrs Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Alliance, says: “This podcast indicates public support in Ireland to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution.  Listen to the podcast and you will hear the voice of the Irish people, all of whom believe that children’s voices now need to be heard and taken seriously.  We travelled across Ireland to capture the opinions of people, and their opinions were such that it warranted the production of this podcast to show that we are in line with public mood.”

The Alliance, a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations, believes this bolsters calls made to the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children by the NGO sector to recommend the need for a robust constitutional amendment, when it publishes its final report on children’s rights on Wednesday 16 December 2009.   A robust constitutional amendment is needed to help support children who are currently embroiled in custody and court battles whose interests are invisible; to support children abandoned with no hope of adoption; and, ultimately, to untie the hands of the State in child protection cases.

Mrs van Turnhout adds: “We have fought tirelessly, over the years, for the strengthening of children’s constitutional rights, most recently arguing that a constitutional amendment would be a fitting ‘living memorial’ to the 30,000 victims of abuse catalogued in the Ryan Report (published May 2009).  The views expressed in the podcast also echoes the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommendation to strengthen children’s rights in Ireland in its two reports to the Irish State, in 1998 and 2006.  It is gratifying that the public share the views of the Alliance that the State needs to modernise an outdated 1937 Constitution, so that society will truly value childhood and the rights of children.”

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

Notes to Editor:
1. The Children’s Rights Podcast Series is available at
2. A raft of official reports have called for constitutional reform in respect of children’s rights, including the Task Force on Child Care (1980); the Kilkenny Incest Investigation (1993); the Constitution Review Group (1996); the Commission on the Family (1998); the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2006); and the Joint Committee on Child Protection (2006). 
3. The Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children was established on 22 November 2007 with an original timeframe of four months, to report in March 2008.  The Committee was subsequently afforded three extensions, with a revised deadline for its final report of 16 December 2009.
4. To send comments or to subscribe, go to:
5. The Children’s Rights Alliance is a designated Social Partner.

Children's Rights Alliance