4 June 2009 Edition
CHILD ABUSE: Ryan Report revelations demand action
Enshrine children’s rights in Constitution
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS need to be enshrined in the Constitution, particularly after the revelations in the Ryan Report on institutional child abuse, Sinn Féin North West EU candidate Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said.
Mac Lochlainn said such a step would mark a break by the state with a shameful past characterised by the neglect and abuse of the most vulnerable children.
“The Constitution sets the basis for legislation and policy in the state. The message we send out by not giving explicit protection to the rights of the child in the Constitution is that the welfare of children does not matter.
“Giving constitutional protection to the rights of children would mark a break by the state with a shameful past characterised by the neglect and abuse of the most vulnerable children.
“Still today, services for children are under-funded. Out of hours services are unavailable; children in care still go missing; today we had a conviction for the killing of a teenage girl who went missing from the care of Health Services Executive in 2006. This state is still letting down vulnerable children and young people. This is an absolute disgrace.”
Those who were abused in state institutions deserve justice and proper compensation for the horrors they were forced to ensure, Cllr Mac Lochlainn said.
“The religious orders must be compelled to increase the amount which they agreed to pay in the totally inadequate indemnity deal agreed with the Government.
“It is also crucial that this state protects children today and in the future. Services for the protection of children must be funded properly and under no circumstances should tight financial circumstances be used as an excuse to cut these services. The rights of children must be given constitutional protection.”