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OECD Report confirms State’s failure of young children – Ó Caoláin

2 September, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the OECD’s first ever report on the well being of children in its 30 member countries confirms that successive Governments have failed younger children, with this State among the bottom five for spending on children in their vital younger years.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“It is a cause of shame that the wealth of the Celtic Tiger years which flowed into State coffers was so badly misused when it should have been invested wisely in providing for greatly improved health, education and social services for children.

“The OECD Report shows that this State is among the five out of 30 OECD countries that spend least on children. It reflects very poorly on the well being of children in this State, especially those who are disadvantaged. This leads to greater problems in later life, including our very high rate of suicide among young men, as highlighted in this report.

“Having under-invested in the welfare of children during the boom we now see the Fianna Fáil/Green Government preparing to slash spending in health and education, increasing class sizes, cutting special needs teachers, withdrawing schemes for disadvantaged pupils such as book grants, restricting medical card entitlements, targeting Child Benefit and much more.

“These cuts will compound the problems for children caused by overcrowded classrooms and inadequate school buildings, lack of accessible childcare, inadequate child protection and over-stretched children’s social care services.

“Investment in children is required to ensure both the rights of all children and real recovery for Ireland beyond the recession.” ENDS

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