Press Release

Hanafin Launches National Children´s Advisory Council

Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister for Children, this afternoon (Tuesday, May 15, 2001) addressed the new National Children´s Advisory Council at its launch in Dublin´s Shelbourne Hotel. The Council is being set up as part of the implementation of the National Children´s Strategy, which was published by the Government before Christmas.

The Advisory Council will advise Minister Hanafin on children’s issues and will undertake extensive research in this area. It is expected to be a major influence on children’s policy and services over the 10-year life-span of the National Children’s Strategy.

Children´s organisations, parents and children themselves are all represented on the Council (See full list of members below).

“Today´s inaugural meeting of the National Children´s Advisory Council is the first time that so many experts from diverse fields have come together to focus exclusively on children’s needs,” said Minister Hanafin today.

“One of the key goals set out in the Government´s National Children´s Strategy is to give children a voice. Prior to the publication of the Strategy last year, we consulted closely with thousands of children around the country about how the Government could improve the lives of young people. And, more recently, three teenagers have been appointed to sit on the Advisory Council; I have no doubt that their contributions, ideas and suggestions in relation to children will be extremely useful to other Council members and to the Government. This is, in many ways, a strategy for young people, by young people,” the Minister added.

Note: The three teenagers appointed by Minister Hanafin to the Council are:

»  Miss Jean Kelly (aged 13) from Glenageary, Co Dublin;
»  Mr David Cawley (aged 16) from Leitrim;
»  Ms Leonie O´Connell (aged 16), from Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The functions of the National Children´s Advisory Council include:

  • Advising the Minister on all aspects of children’s lives;
  • Advising the Minister on the better co-ordination and delivery of services to children;
  • Contributing to monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Strategy at national and local level;
  • Undertaking and advising on research;
  • Advising on training in relation to the Strategy;
  • Advising on the development of mechanisms to consult with children.


Membership of National Children´s Advisory Council

Chairperson Mr. Peter O’Brien
Sector Name Nomination
Statutory Mr. John Collins National Children´s Office
Ms. Catherine Hazlett Family Affairs Unit, Dept. of Social Community & Family Affairs
Mr. John Fanning Dept. of Education & Science
Mr. Ger Deering City/County Development Boards
Ms. Mary Lee-Stapleton National Co-Ordination Childcare Committee
Ms. Breeda Long Health Boards
Mr John Tracey Irish Sports Council
Ms. Helen O´Donoghue The Arts Council
Voluntary Mr. Diarmuid Kearney National Youth Council of Ireland
Mr. Edward Colfer National Parents Council – Post Primary
Ms. Finnuala Kilfeather National Paretns Council – Primary
Sr. Teresa McCormack Conference of Religious of Ireland
Ms. Margaret Webb Sugradh
Mr. Eoin Keenan (temp) Barnardos
Mr. Paul Gilligan Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Ms. Catherine Lynch National Consultative Committee on Rascism & Interculturalism
Mr. Maurice O´Kane People with Disability in Ireland Ltd.
Mr. Ray Dooley Children’s Rights Alliance
Ms. Colette Murray Pavee Point
Mr. Mamar Merzouk Focus Ireland
Research/Training Ms. Noirín Hayes Centre for Scoial & Economic Research, DIT Rathmines
Prof. Robbie Gilligan Children´s Research Centre, Trinity College
a.n. other to reflect training/development issues
Children Mr. David Cawley Age 17
Ms. Jeannie Kelly Age 13
Ms. Leonie O´Connell Age 16
Independent Nominees Ms. Patricia Quinn Teacher
Ms. Averil Power Incoming President, Trinity Students Union
Mr. George Maybury Association of Garda Sergeants of Ireland