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Ombudsman For Children’s Office Makes Submission to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) has made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Committee) to inform the Committee’s preparation of a List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) for Ireland. This LOIPR is an important step in a process relating to the Committee’s fourth periodic examination of the State’s progress towards implementing its obligations to children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Committee is a body of 18 independent children’s rights experts that monitors implementation of the UNCRC by States that have ratified the Convention, including Ireland.

The OCO took a number of factors into consideration when preparing its submission, including the Committee’s Concluding Observations in 2016 following its most recent examination of Ireland and issues affecting children’s rights in Ireland that the OCO has engaged with in recent years.

The OCO’s submission highlights 30 issues affecting the rights of children in Ireland and invites the Committee to request information from the State on these issues within its forthcoming LOIPR. Among the wide-ranging issues highlighted in the OCO’s submission are child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, bullying among children in schools, Brexit, implementing the rights of children with disabilities, child poverty, education, health and homelessness.

The submission highlights that the crisis caused by Covid-19 has amplified existing inequalities experienced by particular groups of children in Ireland, especially those belonging to ethnic minorities, including Traveller and Roma children; children with disabilities; and children experiencing homelessness. The OCO says that the State needs to be able to detail in its report to the Committee in 2021 what measures it is taking to mitigate persistent barriers that certain children face to enjoying their rights.

In the submission, the OCO invites the Committee to ask the State to provide information about the following:

  • Specific actions being taken to combat racism and sectarianism towards children seeking international protection and children of non-Irish heritage
  • Ensuring that children who are witnesses to and/or victims of domestic violence have timely access to appropriate assistance and services, including refuge accommodation, rehabilitation services and child-sensitive redress
  • Proposed legislative and administrative measures to ensure that children are not at increased risk of illicit transfer and non-return to the UK in light of Brexit
  • Ensuring that children who present as homeless on their own are provided with accommodation and supports that are consistent with their best interests and appropriate to their needs
  • Child-specific waiting lists for all healthcare services in Ireland
  • The full range of measures it is taking to ensure that Ireland’s mental health system for children is consistent with children’s rights and upholds children’s right to the highest attainable standard of mental health
  • Progress with implementing actions affecting children set out in the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021.

Speaking about the submission, Dr Karen McAuley, Head of Policy with the OCO said, “The OCO finalised this submission at a time when Ireland, like many countries, is confronted with a crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The socio-economic impact of Covid-19 continues to be very significant. When we were preparing this submission, the budget deficit for 2020 was estimated at up to €30 billion. Given the significant challenges that the State faces as regards mitigating the adverse socio-economic effects of the pandemic, the OCO believes that the State needs to be able to demonstrate in its report to the Committee in 2021 what child rights-based measures it is taking to ensure that children’s rights are being fulfilled to the maximum extent of the State’s available resources.”

All States that have ratified the UNCRC are obliged to submit periodic reports to the Committee on how they are fulfilling their obligations to children and their rights under the UNCRC. Following its examination of a State’s report, the Committee publishes Concluding Observations, which outline the Committee’s concerns and corresponding recommendations on what measures a State needs to take to progress the realisation of children’s rights. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), including the OCO, and civil society organisations can engage with the Committee’s monitoring process, including through submitting alternative reports to the State’s report to the Committee.

Ireland ratified the UNCRC in 1992. The Convention outlines in detail the rights that all children have, without discrimination, and the obligations of State to respect, protect and fulfil these rights. The UNCRC is informed by four core children’s rights principles: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.

Under a Simplified Reporting Procedure, which Ireland opted into in 2019, the Committee is due to publish its LOIPR for Ireland in mid-October 2020. The State is expected to submit its report in response to this LOIPR in October 2021. Subsequent steps in the Committee’s examination of Ireland are due to be implemented during the first five months of 2022 and this will lead to the Committee’s preparation and publication of its next Concluding Observations.


To download a full copy of the submission, see

For further information about the work of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and about the Simplified Reporting Procedure, see