Skip to main content

Tá tú anseo:

OCO hosts Children’s Party to celebrate 20 years of promoting and protecting children’s rights

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) hosted over 100 children from local schools at the Swan Regional Youth Centre, St Agatha’s Hall in Dublin 1 on Thursday, April 18th to celebrate the Office’s 20th Anniversary.

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office was established in April 2004 against the backdrop of historical neglect of children, with a remit to promote and protect the rights of all children living in Ireland.

Since 2004 a lot has improved for children but there is still much work for the Ombudsman for Children’s Office to do, particularly for vulnerable young people. The theme of the OCO’s 20th Anniversary is Tomorrow Starts with Us which came from the OCO Youth Advisory Panel.

The children’s party to celebrate the OCO’s 20th Anniversary was an opportunity for children to have fun, and to focus on who the OCO is working for; children themselves.

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said:

“We were delighted to host a children’s party in Dublin as part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations. We welcomed 100 children from St Vincent’s Boys and Girls Schools, as well as St Lawrence O’Toole’s National School to St Agatha’s Hall. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work of our Office over the past 20 years and the perfect way to mark a major milestone in the OCO’s history.

“The OCO’s Anniversary has fallen alongside the appointment of a new Taoiseach and a commitment from him to improve the situation of children, particularly disabled children and those with additional needs. The establishment of a sub-cabinet committee to break down the silos between children, disability and education, as well as the appointment of a Super-Junior Minister for Special Education is a promising first step. I look forward to this being followed quickly by action and progress.

“Only this week the news has featured just some of the challenges facing our children; the risks associated with AI, empty Child and Adolescent Mental Health beds that are much needed but not staffed by the HSE, children’s cancer treatments being disrupted and children still waiting on scoliosis surgeries.

“The past 20 years has seen an enormous amount of positive change for children’s rights and we are proud that the OCO has been at the forefront of this. However, there is still much work to do to fully integrate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Irish law and to promote a child centred approach to decision-making, where children are heard and their views considered by the policy makers and legislators.

“As we look to the next 20 years of the OCO, we will continue to highlight these issues with Government and policy makers and strive to make Ireland a better country for each individual child to reach their potential.”