Hanafin brings national children´s strategy to local communities in Dun Laoghaire
Minister Mary Hanafin T.D. is in Dun Laoghaire today (Friday 25th May) to talk to children, families and local communities about their role in implementing the National Children´s Strategy. The National Children´s Strategy, launched by an Taoiseach last November, is a plan of action which calls on the statutory agencies, the voluntary sector, local communities, families and children to work together to improve the quality of children’s lives. The Strategy includes a major reform of how the government co-ordinates and delivers services for children. Her aim in visiting Dun Laoghaire to-day is to speak to a wide range of organisations and individuals to build their support and involvement in implementing the Strategy.
The Minister’s visit to Dun Laoghaire today includes the following events:
- 09.30 a.m. Visit to the Holy Family Primary School, Dunedin, Monkstown
- 11.00 a.m. Community Forum in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire for community groups, parents and local statutory bodies from Dublin South, Kildare and Wicklow
- 3.00 p.m. Children´s Forum for children and young people in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire
Over 500 representatives from Dublin South, Kildare and Wicklow have been invited to the Community Forum including local T.D.s, Senators and City/County Councillors, members of the County Childcare Committees, Youthreach officers, members of City/County Development Boards, Health Boards, Regional Authorities, voluntary/community groups including youth groups, Community Development Groups, members of the National Parents Council, V.E.C.s and Traveller groups and those from the area who made submissions to the development of the National Children´s Strategy.
The Children´s Forum will include some 100 representatives of children and young people schools and community groups from the area. The Children´s Forum is being organised by the ISPCC in co-operation with the National Children´s Office. These young people will discuss with Minister Hanafin how they feel they can contribute to the implementation of the Strategy, the issues that concern them and the potential impact of the Strategy on their lives.
The Minister spoke of the importance of local implementation of the Strategy to ensure that services and supports for children are better coordinated. The City and County Development Boards (CDB´s), established by government last year, have been identified as the key bodies to lead the implementation of the Strategy in local communities. They bring together all the key players at a local level and have responsibility for drawing up Strategies for Economic, Social and Cultural Development for each County/City Development area by January 2002. The CDBs will be required to ensure that children’s issues, as identified in the Strategy, are addressed in their local plans and strategies and that children and the local community participate in their development.
Speaking at the community forum the Minister said “This Strategy can only be implemented if everybody who cares for children or makes policy decisions which affect children is committed to its implementation. It is important that your organisations participate in the implementation of the Strategy at a community level. Not far from here we have recently witnessed the closure of the Dun Laoghaire and Blackrock baths, both of which were major recreational facilities.
This limits the opportunity for children locally to enjoy good quality recreational facilities. This Strategy includes a commitment to develop a National Play and Recreation Plan, to ensure that all children have access to good quality playgrounds, sports fields and other facilities. This and other measures will mitigate against such examples of children’s childhood being adversely affected by limiting their opportunity to access services”.
The Minister also emphasized the importance of listening to and consulting with young people on issues which affect their lives. She said that one of the National Goals of the Strategy is to give children a voice and that children should be consulted on the implementation of the Strategy at local level.