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New Children’s Minister’s response totally inadequate – Ó Caoláin

13 May, 2008


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as "totally inadequate" the response of the new Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews to the crisis in child protection as revealed in the Prime Time Investigates programme. The Sinn Féin Dáil leader has secured an adjournment debate on the issue this evening (Tuesday 13th).

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

"The Prime Time Investigates programme has revealed the horrific extent of the child protection crisis in this State. Children are being abused and neglected or left at risk of abuse and neglect even though their files are in the hands of the HSE and they are known to be in these situations. This is the devastating result of the cap on recruitment implemented by the HSE but for which the Government is ultimately responsible.

"The report confirms the repeated warnings from social workers and others working with children and for children's rights that the under-resourcing of child protection services, social work, community care, family support, psychological and therapeutic services is having terrible consequences.

"The response to this crisis by the new Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews on Morning Ireland can only be described as totally inadequate. The new Minister was in automatic defence mode. He could not possibly have fully briefed himself on this crisis in the short time since he was appointed. I urge him strongly to take immediate action to address the crisis, to ensure that essential social workers are appointed and to ensure that those children most at risk are assisted with all possible speed." ENDS

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