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UN call for constitutional change for children welcomed by Sinn Féin

28 September, 2006


Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed reports that the UN will call for constitutional change to protect children from abuse. He expressed his disappointment that international intervention was necessary before movement on this issue pointing out that had the Government accepted Sinn Féin's proposals to the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on the Constitution, this would not have been necessary.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said: "Reports this morning that the United Nations committee on the rights of children is to call for a change in the Constitution to protect children from abuse is welcome, but not unexpected. It is somewhat disappointing that it requires international intervention from the UN to provide the jolt badly needed by the body politic in this state when it comes to children's rights.

"The reality is that the impending statement from the UN committee would not have been necessary if the Government had not opposed a comprehensive constitutional amendment on the rights of the child proposed by Sinn Féin at the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on the Constitution. The minimalist wording that came from the Committee does not address the issue highlighted specifically in the Kilkenny Incest Report as noted in our submission.

"The conclusions from the UN committee should serve as a wake-up call to this Government and to wider Irish society about the state's abject failure to protect and enhance the rights of children in Ireland. I look forward to examining in detail the report due to be published tomorrow by the UN and I hope we will receive a response from Minister Lenihan that is constructive and practical."

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