Published date: 
14 Jan 2011

Children’s Rights Alliance Press Statement
By Jillian van Turnhout

“In response to reports on the Cabinet approved wording for a constitutional amendment on children’s rights, the Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes any and all efforts by Government to advance the holding of a referendum that will strengthen children’s constitutional rights.  The Alliance has been advocating for constitutional reform since its establishment in 1995 and has worked intensively over the past five years with Government and members of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children to make this a reality. 

This development follows on from the valuable work of the Joint Committee which achieved all party consensus on proposed wording for an amendment in February 2010: showing that all party consensus is possible on this important issue.  Strengthening and vindicating children’s rights is, and must be, an issue that exists above party politics.  We firmly believe that the Government of the Irish State – current or future – must take all necessary steps to ensure children’s rights are strengthened in the Constitution.

The Alliance will not take an official stance on whether to support the proposed wording until such time as the wording is officially published and we have had an opportunity to carefully consider it.

The Alliance remains resolute in its belief that Ireland needs to foster a new attitude to children in Irish society.  Strengthening children’s rights in the Constitution, which is both a legal document and a reflection of society’s values, is needed to truly vindicate the rights of all children in Ireland.  Certainly, there is public appetite for such a change, evidenced by the public response to the findings of the Ryan and Murphy Reports, as well as horrific, individual cases of familial child abuse.”

Jillian van Turnhout
Chief Executive

For further information please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director, 01 6629400 / 087 7702845 or

Notes to Editor:

• Budget 2010 committed €3 million to a constitutional referendum on the rights of the child in 2010.
• Each of the political parties’ General Election manifestos in May 2007, the Programme for Government, and the Renewed Programme for Government included a commitment to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution.

The Children’s Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services

Children's Rights Alliance