Children without borders? New challenges for children's EU rights in Ireland

Published date: 
13 Dec 2013

Children without borders? New challenges for children's EU rights in Ireland - Children's Rights Alliance

Dublin 13 December 2013

Opening a seminar on children's EU rights in Ireland, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance said, 'Children have a special status as individuals with rights in the European Union. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is a powerful tool for children granting them, among other rights, the right to equal treatment.

Ireland's membership of the European Union has undoubtedly worked for the betterment of children's lives. However, children depend on adults or the State to vindicate those rights on their behalf.

This is why the Children's Rights Alliance with the support of the European Commission in Ireland and the Department of the Taoiseach under the Communicating Europe initiative is publishing a guide today to children's EU rights in Ireland. We are grateful for this support and hope today's seminar increases awareness for practitioners and children alike of the remedies available to them should their rights be violated.
The recent referendum in Ireland has shown that the Irish people want to strengthen children’s rights in our constitution. However, the Supreme Court has yet to rule on a challenge to that result and we still await the children's amendment in our Constitution.

Children's voices must be heard, in Ireland and throughout the European Union.''

Keynote Speaker Dr Geoffrey Shannon said, "The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is becoming more robust in its application as new case law builds on and interprets those rights.

Children are well-served in their European Union rights. The freedom of movement that we enjoy as citizens of the EU however throws up difficult legal questions when it comes to adoption, custody battles and child abduction.

13% of all marriages are international. We now have a significant number of parents and children 'without borders'.

The question of which jurisdiction and court is competent to decide such cases can prove lengthy and costly.

We also see a situation of 'forum-shopping', where parents try to maximise their interests by travelling to jurisdictions they feel might look more favourably on their case. This can have profound implications for child protection. We must ensure a regulated approach in order that children's best interests are best served across the European Union”.

Speaking at the Conference were:

  • Eilis Barry, Barrister
  • Hilkka Becker, Senior Solicitor, Immigrant Council of Ireland
  • Billy Hawkes, Data Protection Commissioner
  • Natalie McDonnell, Barrister
  • Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection

Bríd McGrath
Communications Manager
Children’s Rights Alliance
Tel:        01 6629400
Mob:     087 770 2845


Children's Rights Alliance