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Irish Publication “Report Card 2010” Spotlights Children as Casualties of Recession

Resource type: News

The Government of the Republic of Ireland has slipped to an overall D- grade in the Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2010, a publication released 25 January, which grades Government on progress in its own commitments to children in the areas of Education, Health, Material Wellbeing and Safeguarding Childhood.

New to this year’s report card are the commitments made in the Ryan Report Implementation Plan, published in July 2009. Report Card 2010 is a respected audit, verified by an external assessment panel, represented by Justice Catherine McGuinness and ICTU’s Sally Anne Kinahan at today’s formal launch in Dublin’s European Union House. Chief Executive, Jillian van Turnhout, will explain the grades given to Government, including the reasons for introducing an F-grade (Fail) in the policy areas of alcohol, primary care and financial support for families (such as the child benefit payment). Education is the only key policy area where Government does better than last year, particularly in Early Childhood Care and Education, going from an ‘E’ to a ‘B-‘, following the introduction of the free pre-school year initiative.

Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, says: “Last year, we awarded Government an overall ‘D’ grade. This year, this has slipped to a ‘D-‘grade. While this, in itself, is disappointing enough, it gives us no pleasure at all to introduce a new ‘F’ grade – a FAIL. But Government has simply forced our hand. The new grade is indicative of the way in which children are the casualties of the recession. In times of crisis, it is only natural to expect children to come first. But you only need look at the 10% cut to Child Benefit to know that, as Ireland sinks further into economic crisis, none of our children are at the front of the queue, let alone on the lifeboats. Accordingly, Government has dropped from one of its best grades last year – from a ‘B-‘to an ‘F’ – for financial support for families. And had Government not reversed its proposed cuts to education, this year’s Report Card would be much bleaker.”

Report Card 2010 offers little comfort to Government, as nearly all grades either stay the same or are worse than those awarded in Report Card 2009. However, the work of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD thus far in relation to the Ryan Report is warmly welcomed by the Alliance, with the plan itself and social work provision each awarded a ‘B‘ grade: the best grade of the entire report, pointing to a good effort, with positive results for children.

Justice Catherine McGuinness, President of the Law Reform Commission, says: “Report Card 2010 is quickly becoming a vital piece of investigation that holds Government to account in relation to its own commitments to children. The rigorous and wide-ranging examination conducted by the Children’s Rights Alliance is clear for all to see and, despite a catalogue of firm and very well-thought out commitments from Government, it shows a level of failure to live up to those commitments.”

Sally Anne Kinahan, Assistant Secretary General of ICTU, says: “I am absolutely delighted to have played a role in this excellent publication. It holds Government to account and really does make a difference to children’s lives. Report Card 2010 offers Government a way forward and provides excellent recommendations that, if implemented, would put a halt to the deepening of a two-tiered society that ignores Ireland’s most vulnerable children.”

Image (left to right): Sally Anne Kinahan, Assistant Secretary General of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Justice Catherine McGuiness, President of the Law Reform Commission and Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance at the Launch of the Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2010.

Visit the website:

Download the executive summary:
ReportCard2010ExecSumm250110.pdf 181.25 kB

Download the full report:
Report Card 10
report card 10.pdf 1.85 MB

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Children & Youth

Global Impact:

Republic of Ireland


Children's Rights Alliance, recession