First Child Summit Brings International Children's Rights Home to Irish Soil

Published date: 
7 Sep 2016



First Child Summit Brings International Children’s Rights Home to Irish Soil


Thursday 8 September: for immediate release


Ireland’s first Child Summit is being held in Croke Park, Dublin today (Thursday 8 September), co-hosted by the Children’s Rights Alliance and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. This is a national symposium to look at recommendations made by the UN Children’s Committee following its examination of Ireland’s children’s rights record earlier this year. Flying in to Ireland especially for the occasion are two members from the UN Children’s Committee, Gehad Madi and Prof. Kirsten Sandberg, who along with their Committee colleagues carried out Ireland’s examination last January in Geneva. 


The summit, which is massively oversubscribed, is the first of its kind in bringing together the main policy and decision-makers across Government to help forge positive change for children in Ireland. Due to be addressed by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, the summit will be attended by over 230 delegates including Government officials, Oireachtas members, young people and civil society representatives. Important actions to improve children’s lives will be debated against the harsh backdrop of more than one in ten children living in consistent poverty, almost 2,500 children living in homeless accommodation, 6,000 children in state care and 1,200 children growing up in direct provision. 

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, said: “It is unacceptable that there are children in our country going to bed hungry, frightened and alone and the first Child Summit is an opportunity to focus minds on these issues. As Minister I am committed to work with and support those in the frontline combating child homelessness and poverty.  I am determined that Ireland will not only comply with UN recommendations but we will become one of the best countries in the world to grow up in.”


Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Today’s summit is important because the Irish powers-that-be for children are coming together under one roof, looking at the UN Committee’s recommendations and thrashing out their clear intentions to improve children’s futures. In bringing together the necessary change-makers, we can show how UN recommendations in areas like child poverty, homelessness and mental health can live within our national policy framework on children, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. Today is about putting children first and making sure everyone in Government and beyond plays their part.”


Gehad Madi, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, said: “The cooperation and coordination between Government and civil society is the ultimate approach for the promotion and protection of children's rights. The mere fact that this conference is being held in partnership between the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Children's Rights Alliance is an excellent example of such cooperation that brings all stakeholders together to achieve a common goal that benefits the children of Ireland as rights holders.”


Prof. Kirsten Sandberg, also from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, said: “The First Child Summit is an opportunity for the Irish government to take a significant step forward in its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, in dealing with the Irish report last January, welcomed progress in many areas, but also had quite a few recommendations for improvement. The spirit of collaboration between all good forces in which the Summit takes place is indeed promising for the work to uphold children's rights in Ireland, in line with the Committee's concluding observations.”




Notes to Editor

·         First Child Summit: a Symposium on the Recommendations by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for Ireland takes place today between 9:30am and 4:30pm in Croke Park, Dublin. The full programme is here

·         Speakers and contributors include (alphabetical order):

o   Prof. Ursula Kilkelly, Head of College, School of Law, UCC

o   Dr. Fergal Lynch, Secretary General, Department of Children and Youth Affairs

o   Gehad Madi, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Country Rapporteur on Ireland

o   Dr. Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children

o   Prof. Kirsten Sandberg, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Country Rapporteur on Ireland

o   Prof. Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection and Founding Patron, Children’s Rights Alliance

o   Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance

o   Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

·         The Concluding Observations of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Feb 2016) are here

·         The Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. The organisations seeks to change the lives of all children in Ireland by making sure that their rights are respected and protected in Ireland’s laws, policies and services. 

·         Social Media:     

o   Twitter: @ChildRightsIRL @DCYAPress #childsummit #UNCRC

o   Facebook:

·         Website:



For further information, please contact:

Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager, Children’s Rights Alliace

Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 655 9067