The main recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 2016 Concluding Observations on Ireland relate to the insufficient implementation of the previous recommendations, in particular those related to children with disabilities, health and health services, adolescent health, standard of living, refugee and asylum-seeking children, administration of juvenile justice and children belonging to minorities. The Committee also express their regret that the Convention has not been fully incorporated into domestic law. The Committee, however, recognise the potential positive impact the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the National Strategy may have on the implementation of the provisions contained within the Convention. The Observations also highlight concerns relating to reductions in budgets (Ombudsman for Children’s Office and the Department of Health) and failure to increase social welfare payments to reflect costs of living (child benefit and support for children with disabilities).
Key recommendations pertaining to migrant children:
- Children on the move: Generally, the Committee expresses concern over the discrimination and stigmatisation experienced by Traveller and Roma children and recommends establishing a successor to the National Action Plan against Racism 2005 – 2008. The Committee expresses a general concern about the standard of living of children from a variety of backgrounds, including Roma and refugee children. They recommend Ireland strengthen their efforts to reduce poverty with an emphasis on those considered by the Committee to be vulnerable. The main recommendations relate to legal recognition of Traveller and Roma as ethnic groups, respecting cultural practices and ensuring an adequate standard of living through the improvement of households and halting sites and increasing and ensuring access to child benefit payments.
- Asylum-seeking and refugee children: The Committee expresses concern about the reception conditions (aka Direct Provision) for asylum seeking children accompanied by their families and children accompanied by family members who are seeking asylum. The recommendations centre on ensuring independent inspections of all accommodation centres and ensuring children seeking asylum have access to the same support services as Irish children. The Committee specifically recommends that the centres have: appropriate facilities including recreation areas for children, adequate and appropriate child protection services, education, clothing and food. The Committee also reiterates their recommendation to increase social welfare payments to proportionately increase the payment made to children in Direct Provision to correlate with the standard of living.
- Children in situations of irregular migration: The Committee recommends that Ireland adopt legislation to address the specific needs of migrant children, which provide procedures for conferring immigration status to children and their families who are in irregular migration situations, and to take measures to ensure access to independent legal advice.
Ireland will submit their combined 5th and 6th report in 2021.
For further information:
See: Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Ireland (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child).
See also: A civil society report coordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance.