“The Board and staff of the Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcome the Taoiseach’s nomination of Alliance Chief Executive, Jillian van Turnhout, to Seanad Éireann and congratulate Jillian on her appointment. We are certain that Jillian will continue her effective advocacy on children’s rights within the Seanad and will prove to be a true children’s champion in the Oireachtas. We wish her well in this new endeavor and thank her for her tremendous contribution to the Alliance to date.
As Chief Executive of the Alliance, a coalition of over 90 NGOs working for the rights and needs of children in Ireland, she has transformed the organisation. Jillian has been integral in devising its new strategic aims and sourcing stable funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation – one of the rare NGOs to have both funders in place.
On her appointment in 2005, she was advised to remove ‘rights’ from the name of the organisation, as the very idea of children having ‘rights’ was considered controversial and the term ‘rights’ a switch-off. However, she remained resolute in her commitment to vindicate the rights of children and has, as a result, significantly altered the way that children’s rights are viewed by politicians and civil society. Six years on, the Government is now poised to hold a referendum to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution.
Jillian works diligently in her full-time role as Chief Executive of the Alliance and does so while being an effective member of the European Economic and Social Committee, based in Brussels. Furthermore, she is passionate about European issues and is currently Vice-President of European Movement Ireland. In addition to these commitments, she continues to be a weekly volunteer with a local unit of the Irish Girl Guides.
Jillian was named Newstalk’s Women Mean Business ‘2010 Social Entrepreneur of the Year’, for her pivotal role in the development of children’s rights in Ireland; this award is testimony to her commitment to social justice issues.
We warmly congratulate Jillian on her appointment to Seanad Éireann and look forward to having a children’s champion in the Oireachtas.”
For all media queries, contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Children’s Rights Alliance