Published date: 
31 May 2010

Tuesday 1 June 2010: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Alan Shatter TD, Fine Gael Frontbench Spokesperson on Children, says Irish adoption laws are ‘decades behind’ those of other countries when over 2,000 children in long-term foster care stand no chance of adoption, owing to provisions under the outdated Irish Constitution.  In a podcast launched today by the Children’s Rights Alliance to mark International Children’s Day, Deputy Shatter describes the ‘absolute need’ to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution, pointing to the publication of ‘far too many reports’ that clearly demonstrate that children are being left far too long in families where they endure physical or sexual abuse.  He calls on Government to issue a date for a referendum on children’s rights that, he describes, is ‘vitally important’.

Mrs Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Deputy Alan Shatter is very clear in his support of the work of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children that succeeded in securing all-party agreement on the proposed wording, which seeks to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution.  Deputy Shatter is in tune with the public here, as we truly believe that Irish society is ready to embrace children’s rights within the Constitution and are ready to vote ‘yes’ if Government were to hold a referendum on the issue.  On International Children’s Day,  I urge Government to now set a date for a referendum.”

The Government has been accused of neglecting its commitments to children’s rights, when it defeated the Labour motion in the Dáil last month to establish the necessary Constitutional Amendment Bill that would set a date, this year, for the holding of a referendum to enshrine and enhance the protection of the rights of children.  The final report of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children was published on 16 February.  Crucially, it included all-party agreement on a proposed wording for a constitutional amendment to strengthen children’s rights.  The Alliance is on record as stating that this brings Ireland closer to securing constitutional change that will make a real and positive difference to all children in Ireland.

Deputy Shatter is the third guest speaker in a special series of podcast interviews with members of the Joint Committee that can be found on the Alliance web site at; the Alliance will also upload the podcast interview with Sinn Fein Spokesperson for Children, Caoimhghín O’Caoláin TD, in the coming weeks.  Podcast interviews featuring Mary O’Rourke TD, Chair of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children; and Senator Alex White, Labour Spokesperson on Children, were published in April and May 2010.


For further information, please contact:

Carys Thomas, Communications Director

Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845

Fax: (01) 662 9355


Notes to Editor:

  1. The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland proclaimed June 1 to be International Children's Day in 1925.
  2. The Children’s Rights Podcast Series is available at or each podcast can be downloaded from iTunes. In the Advanced menu, click Subscribe to Podcast and add the following URL 
  3. To send comments about the Children’s Rights Podcast Series or to subscribe, go to:
Children's Rights Alliance