Press Release

Minister Lenihan hosts a reception for Irish Non Governmental Organisations working in the area of childcare in Romania. Negru Voda Placement Centre to close

The Minister for Children, Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D., hosted a reception today (06th March 03) at 4.00 pm in Iveagh House for a number of Irish Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the area of childcare in Romania, including Focus on Romania (FOR), Aurelia Trust and Trade Aid. The Minister also met a number of the students from Mount Sackville Convent Chapelizod who contributed an enormous amount of their time and energy to this effort.

Speaking at the reception, Minister Lenihan welcomed the decision of the Romanian Government to close the Negru Voda Placement Centre and to replace it with new facilities which will provide suitable accommodation comprising European Standards of best practice.

Minister Lenihan noted that this has long been an issue of concern to many people in Ireland. Irish NGOs have played a major part in the childcare reform process and have briefed the Minister on their work in Romania. As Minister for Children Mr Lenihan has supported the efforts of the Irish NGO´s in their work in the reform process. The Department of Foreign Affairs has also conducted useful discussions with the NGOs involved as well as with the Romanian Authorities.

In April 2002, RTE television screened a documentary “Forgotten Children, Growing Older” highlighting to many Irish people for the first time the plight of the Romanian children and young adults who were housed in placement centres such as Negru Voda. This documentary subsequently won a best ´special feature´ award at the IFTA Irish Film and Television Awards.

The Minister noted that the area of childcare reform is one of many areas of ongoing cooperation between Romania and the European Union. Romania is a candidate for accession to the European Union and, together with Bulgaria, has set a target date of 2007 for accession.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., and Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Overseas Development and Human Rights, Mr Tom Kitt T.D., also attended the reception.