Children’s department retained in Ireland’s new Government

Campaigners have welcomed the news that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be retained, and given an expanded remit, in the new Irish government.

Members of the Children’s Rights Alliance had joined forces with other children’s advocates to lobby for the department’s retention, following concerns it would be abolished, and just one minister would have the remit for education and child & youth services.

The new government will comprise a three-party coalition consisting of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, with Roderick O’Gorman becoming the Minister for Children and Disability and Equality.

‘Children matter and young people matter’

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said the retention and expansion of the department made ‘a real statement that the lives of children matter and that young people matter’.

“Retaining the department will mean that the Government is well positioned to respond to the new challenges that Covid-19 presents us with,” said Ward. “We are already seeing increased child protection concerns, rising levels of food poverty and additional strains on mental health services. We need a full Cabinet Minister at the table for children and young people that can help the country recover from Covid19.

“The beefing up of the Department’s remit to include equality and disability will also mean that it will have a bigger role to play and a further reach across government, giving every child, every chance. This will allow it the flexibility and resources to develop policies and responses across other areas of Government to ensure our children and young people are not forgotten when we deal with the fallout of this pandemic.”

‘It is vital this department is resourced and supported’

“We recognise that there is lot more progress to be made for children and young people, but we are already in a better position to continue to make positive change when children and young people have a seat at the Cabinet table.

“We acknowledge the leadership of the negotiating parties in deciding not only to retain the Department but in taking this one step further, and scaling up the Department. That being said, it is also vital that this ‘beefed-up’ Department is resourced and supported to ensure that all aspects of it remit are given the attention they deserve.”

Click here for more information about the work of the Children’s Rights Alliance.

Author: Simon Weedy

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