Children's Rights Alliance Calls for Appointment of National Director to Lead a Three-Year Anti-Poverty Programme for Children

Published date: 
9 May 2019

Press Release

3.30pm Children's Rights Alliance AGM Political Panel ‘Ending Child Poverty’
Davenport Hotel,
Merrion Street. D2.

Children’s Rights Alliance Calls for Appointment Of National Director to Lead a Three-Year Anti-Poverty Programme for Children

All Seven Political Parties Give Strong Commitment To Ending Child Poverty

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Poverty ruins childhoods. Despite some recent measures by Government the reality is that over 100,000 children still live in consistent poverty in Ireland. Every political party here today agrees we need to act on child poverty. If we are serious about ending it, we must take action now by appointing a National Director to lead a Child Poverty Unit within Government.”

· The Director would be appointed by the Taoiseach for a time-limited period and would be co-located in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. They would lead a Child Poverty Unit comprising officials and experts for a limited period of time.
· The unit would develop a three-year Anti-Poverty Implementation Plan with agreed outcomes and monitor progress.
Tanya was speaking at a Political Panel hosted by the Children’s Rights Alliance. The request was put to the political panel at the historic cross-party gathering.

Keynote speaker Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD said:

“My life’s work has been dedicated to eradicating the damaging impact of child poverty and breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty. This professional and personal commitment guides all my work. The issue of poverty must be discussed at the heart of Government – involving every Minister, every Department as well as the agencies they work with. Each should be tasked with identifying the actions being taken, and how their impact will be measured. We have seen such an approach work when our nation faces enormous challenges.

The cross-Government response to Brexit has given us a model which can be used to respond to other matters of urgency. Child poverty is such a challenge.”

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD;
“Fine Gael will be committed to the goals of the Government’s forthcoming Social Inclusion strategy, which will build on the work of its predecessors and incorporate the views of all our key stakeholders. The key objectives of ‘No Child 2020’ will be reflected in the priorities of the strategy.”

Deputy Leader of Fianna Fail, Dara Calleary TD;
“In modern Ireland, no child should ever be left behind. Fianna Fáil will invest in services to ensure that all children have access to top-quality healthcare, a decent home, and have the resources they need to learn and grow.”

Leader of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald TD;
“Significant investment is needed to eliminate child poverty and risk of child poverty, a goal that Sinn Féin believes is absolutely achievable in a modern wealthy democracy like Ireland. To deliver on this ambition we also need a cohesive interdepartmental strategy which sets out long-term goals and measurable outcomes.”

Leader of Labour Brendan Howlin TD;
“Labour wants the elimination of child poverty, and we are committed to a whole-of-government approach to ensure that no child is left behind. Labour recently brought a Motion on a Fair Start for Every Child to the Dáil.”

Leader of Green Party, Eamon Ryan TD;
The Green Party fully support the No Child 2020 goals. We plan to achieve them by ending child poverty with a universal basic income, expanding the provision of free public goods in education, healthcare, housing, arts and culture and ensuring a healthy and safe environment.”

Co-leader of Social Democrats, Roisin Shortall TD;
“The Social Democrats are committed to implementing the No Child 2020 Goals. As an over-riding aim we want a clear target set down in the next Programme for Government that consistent child poverty will be eliminated within the lifetime of the next Dáil.”

Irish Solidarity-People Before Profit Richard Boyd Barrett TD;
“We must act urgently and decisively to end the scandal of child poverty deprivation and homelessness. The imperative in the 1916 proclamation “To cherish all of the children of the nation equally” has not been achieved more than a century later. It is our generations responsibility to honour this commitment.”

Today’s Children’s Rights Alliance AGM political panel is chaired by Sinéad O’Carroll, News Editor,

Running Order:
2.30pm AGM
Keynote Speech Minister Katherine Zappone TD
3.45pm Political Panel with
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD
Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil, Dara Calleary TD
Leader of Sinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald TD
Leader of Labour Brendan Howlin TD
Leader of Green Party, Eamon Ryan TD  
Co-leader of Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD 
Irish Solidarity-People Before Profit, Richard Boyd Barrett TD 
Chair: Sinead O’Carroll, News Editor, The

Media enquiries: Yvonne Judge 087 6624775 Twitter: @yvonnejudge