On 10th May the UNESCO Chairs at the University of Ulster and The National University of Ireland, Galway hosted an event to launch a commentary advocating for a referendum on the inclusion of children’s rights in the Irish Constitution. The commentary reached the following key conclusions:
- Children’s rights in Ireland should be afforded greater protection. The express recognition of children as rights holders in the Irish Constitution is one means of working toward achieving a stronger culture of children’s rights.
- Children’s and parental rights are in the main complementary. Building a stronger culture of human rights in Ireland would strengthen the position of children, their parents and those advocating on behalf of children to defend the rights of the child.
- While there is a general consensus that a child’s interests are best protected in the family environment, where a child is at risk within the family home stronger recognition of children’s rights would allow the correct balance to be maintained between children’s and parental rights and between a family’s right to provacy and the need for appropriate intervention to safeguard the child from harm.
- A stronger culture of children’s rights in Ireland could serve to ensure that all children equally have their rights respected, irrespective of their family status.
In her response to the Commentary Minister Frances Fitzgerald TDconfirmed her intention to strengthen government’s commitment to children’s rights and announced that a referendum will take place in 2012.
Press Release available here.