Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Vice-Chair of the Jobs, Social Protection & Education Comittee
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Wednesday, 25th April 2012
Labour Party TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin today welcomed the publication of the heads of the Children First Bill. The Bill will put the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children on a statutory basis which is a key commitment in the Programme for Government.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated: “I welcome the news today from the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs that the heads of the Children First Bill are to be published. It has been over a decade since the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children was established but so far it has only been able to operate on a voluntary compliance basis.
“The Children First Bill will correct this anomaly and place the guidelines on a statutory basis which was one of the key recommendations of the Ryan Report in 2009 and one which was not followed up on by the previous administration. I wish to commend the Minister and her department for their efforts in this regard.
“Child protection is something which should have been a priority for previous governments but tragically was not. Various reports and investigations into child protection have shown how flawed our laws were in tackling this problem. However, it was not just our laws or justice system which were deficient. As a society, we failed to make child protection a major priority and for too long we failed to act.
“This new Bill will seek to change this by ensuring that every sector of society takes responsibility for child protection.”