THERE was plenty of lively debate at a public talk on children’s rights held in the Ormonde College recently.
Entitled “Is Ireland failing children?” the night saw a presentation delivered on the problems facing children in Ireland today, followed by a debate opened to the floor.
Speakers at the talk included students from Ormonde College of Further Education, members of Kilkenny Child Care Committee, local teachers and representatives from Kilkenny County Council, all of whom were eager to share their views on how we can make children’s rights a priority in Ireland. The event was hosted by Bart Storan, Executive Director of Campaign for Children. Campaign for Children is committed to an Ireland where children are recognised and respected as full individuals within society. The organisation is currently engaged in a series of public education, advocacy and campaigning activities to ensure the full realisation of this vision.
“We need to permeate throughout the entire community to make sure our children are treasured - whoever they are, wherever they are and whatever part of the community they’re from,” said Councillor Catherine Connery (FG), who was accompanied by her Fine Gael colleague Councillor Betty Manning in showing her support for the campaign and for the strengthening of children’s rights in Ireland.
Fine Gael Councillors Betty Manning and Catherine Connery support Campaign for Children. The discussion soon turned to the Children First Guidelines for child protection which were first drafted in 1999 but have yet to be placed on a statutory footing. There was a general sense of surprise expressed by those present that these guidelines have not yet been made law.
“You use the guidelines for your child protection policies and most teachers are aware that they are there. But I think most aren’t aware that they’re not the law, that they’re not yet legally binding,” said Liselott Olofsson, a local primary school teacher.
During the course of the night, ideas were thrown back and forth about how best to develop a local campaign presence in Kilkenny. Issues like the importance of local knowledge, how to choose the right people to get in touch with and which organisations to approach were discussed in detail.
Campaign for Children was greatly impressed by the group’s sense of initiative, with great things expected from the Kilkenny branch of Campaign for Children in the months ahead.
If you’re based in the Kilkenny area and interested in getting involved in Campaign for Children or attending any events in the future contact firstname.lastname@example.org.