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Tanya Ward

Children’s group welcomes report on protection

The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed the release of the seventh report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon.

Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said, “Dr Shannon’s report is a wakeup call for Government to urgently review the 1991 Child Care Act, which is the bedrock of our child protection system. The legislation is over 20 years old and the courts don’t have the powers they need to keep children safe. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly is well placed to commission a review and to reform this area.”

Ms Ward added, “The internet is a new frontier in child protection and Dr Shannon shows how our laws have not kept pace with technological advances. This generation of children are in danger of online grooming and Dr Shannon is calling for new laws. For this reason the new Heads of the Sexual Offences Bill published on Thursday by Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, is very welcome. Ireland has yet to ratify the Lanzarote Convention or the Budapest Convention focusing on Cybercrime – an essential next step.”

She further stated, “Dr Shannon highlights the real danger of children being trafficked into the country for forced marriages and is calling on Government to combat this.”

The report also addresses health concerns for children and recommends restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy foods to children, as well as the banning advertising of baby formula..

The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling for urgent action and for the Special Rapporteur’s report to be fully debated in both Houses of the Oireachtas.

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