The Ombudsman for Children's statutory obligations, as stated in Section 7(1)(d) Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002, extend to promoting awareness among the public about children’s rights and welfare and how they rights can be enforced. In the coming weeks, the Ombudsman for Children will not advise the electorate how to vote but will continue to fulfil her duties regarding the promotion of children's rights through the publication of various reports on the work on her Office, through media interviews and by making public statements on issues relevant to her mandate.
The Ombudsman for Children first called for an amendment to the Constitution to enhance children's rights in January 2005. Since that initial call the Ombudsman for Children has seen demonstrated - particularly through this Office’s complaints work - the necessity for enhancing children’s rights in the Constitution. It is a dominant feature of investigations undertaken by this Office that with few exceptions they highlight a lack of awareness about the impact of civil and public administrative decision-making on the lives and rights of children and their families.
The Ombudsman for Children has consistently called for four key elements to be included in the Constitution. These are;
1. an express statement of the rights of the child;
2. the best interests principle;
3. a State duty to support families while responding in a proportionate manner; and
4. a provision to enable the sharing of soft information.
The Ombudsman for Children has been making this call in a variety of ways including through:
1. Advice and Submissions to the Oireachtas
2. Opinion pieces in national newspapers
3. Speeches and presentations
- Foreword to A Children’s Rights Analysis of Investigations
- An essay titled Children’s Rights and the Constitution by the Ombudsman for Children printed in In Plain Sight - Responding to the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports by Amnesty International Ireland was published in September 2011
Click here to read the THIRTY-FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION (CHILDREN) BILL 2012.