Children's Rights Alliance AGM
1800 hrs Thursday May 9
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty
Agrees with Children’s Rights Alliance proposal on appointment of National Director On Child Poverty.
“The idea of having one single body among the departments needs to be done, there needs to be specific targets for specific people on specific dates” said Minister Doherty TD, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
She was speaking at the cross party political panel at the AGM of the Children’s Rights Alliance, where Tanya Ward CEO of the Children's Rights Alliance called for a National Director to be appointed. The political panel were discussing the five asks of the Children’s Rights Alliance ‘No Child 2020 Campaign’.
Speaking on the housing crisis, Minister Doherty added:
“We need to build houses and we need to build faster and more, it’s communities we need to build not just houses.”
On the issue of a constitutional referendum on the right to housing she commented.
“A referendum is fine but it’s no good if it’s the right to go on a waiting list”
Earlier, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD made the keynote speech and said:
“In order to eradicate child poverty—and I am passionate about that—we must deepen our understanding of it, and augment the way we measure it.
As we know, consistent poverty currently means a child living in a household that has an income below the at-risk of poverty line, and cannot afford two out of 11 basic items. These include adequate clothing, food, heating, participation in social activities and replacing worn out furniture.”
Fianna Fail’s Deputy Leader Dara Calleary TD spoke about emergency accommodation and the housing crisis:
“We are supportive of legislative change to introduce time limits in family hubs. Regarding housing we need to resolve the issue of supply first and look at a referendum in the long term as it might not meet people’s expectations.”
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said;
“To get it right we need all to cooperate on government, policy, we need to have a grownup conversation about taxes we pay. Intergenerational poverty is a profound problem.”
On the proposal for the provision of hot meals in schools she added, “we are still designing schools for thirty years ago, we need to design schools with kitchens and cooking facilities. School meals and free books should be an integrated package.”
Labour Leader Brendan Howlin TD commented;
“We need to legislate now to control the price of land. We have to solve the need with basic things like a capacity to cook a meal, hot school meals are a given. We need significant sea change in the supports we provide.”
Roisin Shortall TD of the Social Democrats added;
“Child poverty is a result of the type of politics practiced in this country.
One minister cannot tackle this on their own it should be driven by The Taoiseach, if the Taoieach thinks it shoud happen it will happen.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD commented on the problem of health poverty.
“20% of our children are not getting their daily recommended walking or cycling – this is health poverty, we need to use local producers in providing food in schools.”
On culture Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit suggested:
“A culture card and to employ thousands of artists and creative workers to work in our schools on something like ‘a living wage as an artist’
Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary TD agreed;
“It’s all about capturing children’s imagination.”
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