Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin meets Children's Commissioner

6 October, 2003

Sinn Féin Children and Young People's Spokesperson, West Belfast representative Cllr Sue Ramsey and Equality Spokesperson, Upper Bann representative Dr Dara O'Hagan meet with the new Commissioner for Children and Young People Nigel Williams today in Belfast.

Commenting on the meeting Cllr Ramsey said:

"Nigel Williams has made a big impact. Now it is important that we see change on the ground, particularly in the way the services for children and young people are provided.

"Sinn Féin have also voiced concerns that the remit of the commissioner does not allow him to deal properly with the issue of juvenile justice.

"If we are to effectively champion the rights of children and young people then the commissioner must also be a position to impact directly on decisions that will effect the lives of children. This must include the ability to impact on cross-departmental decisions. For example in any new housing development announced by the Department of Social Development the commissioner should be able to impact on decisions around traffic calming, recreational facilities, public transport etc.

Dr O'Hagan added:

"It is also vital that the commissioner has a role in tackling child poverty. Only last week the report in Low Income Families highlighted the fact that 37% of children are now at risk from low income and poverty and this will have consequential implications on their future." ENDS

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