Press Release

Hanafin seeks views of children and young people

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Children, today (February 24th, 2000) launched her consultation with children and young people on the National Children’s Strategy. The National Children’s Strategy is being developed to lead the direction for the development of supports and services over the next 10 years. The aim is to improve supports and services and their co-ordination for children and young people.

All young people are invited to use to submit suggestions, comments and any observations they feel would contribute towards the formation of the National Children’s Strategy.

“This new channel of communication will give children and young people direct access to me to raise their issues and concerns which they think this Government should address. It puts in place a new means for children and young people to be heard and listened to at national level,” Minister Hanafin said.

As part of this consultation process, the Minister today addressed representatives of voluntary and community organisations, to enlist their help in ensuring a successful outcome to the consultation with children and young people.

“It is my view that the preparation of the Strategy further underpins the Government’s commitment to children. In our reviewed Action Programme for the Millennium, we prioritised the need to have in place a coherent system of support to care for our children. The Government is committed to giving a higher priority to the needs of children and young people.”

Minister Hanafin highlighted the need for the views of children and young people to be canvassed through schools. “As a former teacher, I am looking forward to visiting a number of schools and to personally hearing the views of children and young people,” she added.

“It is also imperative that we explore with children and young people how today’s so-called ‘Tiger Economy’ affects then, or, indeed, is passing them by, to understand something of their personal experiences of childhood, and capture their vision of the future. This approach is critical if we are to make Ireland a better place to grow up in over the next 10 years,”she stressed.

Minister Hanafin said a wider consultation process with all interested parties was already underway.

“Submissions on the Strategy have already been received from parents, guardians and other interested parties. Today’s initiative is important in that, if we expect our children to make successful transitions to adulthood and become responsible and valuable members of Irish society, then we must act responsibly by seeking and taking on board the views of children,” concluded Minister Mary Hanafin TD.

The consultation will be run by the member organisations of the Children’s Rights Alliance and the National Youth Council, including Barnardos, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the SVP Youth Clubs Council.