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Sinn Féin MEP welcomes recommendations to protect children across the EU

21 June, 2005


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed proposals on ensuring that adults who work with or volunteer to work with children and young people are suitable. Ms de Brún said that Sinn Féin had "consistently called for the establishment of a single all-Ireland body responsible for holding standardized child protection information". She also welcomed Peter Hain's commitment to appoint a Minister for Children, saying that Sinn Féin had advocated this when the Executive was established following the Good Friday Agrement.

The review by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams, is based on a year long independent study carried out on behalf of the Commissioner by barrister Ruth Lavery. The report launched today by Nigel Williams specifically recommends the sharing of information across Ireland and all other EU jurisdictions for child protection purposes.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"I want to welcome the recommendations by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams. The protection of our children should be paramount and it is important that a consistent system is put in place to ensure that those who wish to work or volunteer to work with children and young people pose no threat.

"Before the last elections Sinn Fein published its Children‚s Charter which included the demand for the immediate establishment of a single all-Ireland body that would be responsible for holding standardized child protection information and supported by the Department of Heath, SocialServices and Public Safety in the north, the Department of Health and Children in the South and the two Departments of Education. This would work within a wider EU and global context.

"I have been in correspondence recently with Shaun Woodward, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and his predecessor Angela Smith about the need for progress on the issue of all-Ireland child protection arrangements. Today's report underlines the need for renewed emphasis on this work.

"It must be recognized that the overwhelming majority of those who work and volunteer with young people are hardworking and decent people, whose over-riding concern is the welfare and well-being of the children in their care. These proposals will hopefully compliment and support their important work."

Ms de Brún concluded:

"I also want to welcome Secretary of State Peter Hain‚s commitment to appoint a Minister for Children. This has been a consistent demand of Sinn Féin's and a proposal we put to the talks at the time the Executive was set up." ENDS

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