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Minister Reilly Addresses a Meeting of British and Irish Network of Ombudsman and Children’s Commissioners (BINOCC)

At a meeting of British and Irish Network of Ombudsman and Children’s Commissioners (BINOCC) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly, outlined how the Government have taken away the defence of reasonable chastisement through an amendment to the Children First Bill. This now makes it impossible for anyone to defend violence of any type against a child or adult.

The Children’s Commissioners from Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales were eager to understand how this change came about as they push to achieve a similar situation in their jurisdictions.

Last week Ireland was praised in Geneva by the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child for bringing its legislation in line with the majority of Europe on this issue. The UK will be facing the same committee in the very near future and the Children’s Commissioners have made strong recommendations around the necessity to ban corporal punishment in the whole of the UK.

Dr. Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children in Ireland thanked the Minister for his time and expressed satisfaction that “Irish children can now have an equal level of protection from violence as adults do”. He went on to say that “This is major step forward and a clear commitment by Government in the area of Children’s rights”.

Minster Reilly welcomed the discussion between the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon, and his counterparts in our neighbouring jurisdictions on the issue of corporal punishment. The Minister said “When I signed the order removing the defence of reasonable chastisement, I referred to its significance as regards advancing the rights of children and making an important contribution to the global movement towards ending violence against children. In that context, it is my hope that the exchange that took place at today’s meeting regarding the recent developments in Ireland will be of assistance”.

Additional Information:

Statement of Shared Principles of BINOCC

The British and Irish Network of Ombudsman and Children’s Commissioners (BINOCC) links the 4 United Kingdom Commissioners and the Ombudsman for Children in the Republic of Ireland to promote and enable shared learning throughout the jurisdictions and for the discussion of issues of mutual concern which may affect the rights of children and young people.

The Commissioners and Ombudsman, via the BINOCC network, have agreed a number of shared principles which guide how each of the offices will work together. These include:

  • to always place the interests of the child first and foremost;
  • to listen to the views of children and young people and promote the participation of children and young people in decision making;
  • to communicate in an open, transparent and timely manner across the jurisdictions;
  • to encourage and promote the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC);
  • to collectively advocate for children’s rights and best interests in each of the jurisdictions;
  • to work in partnership and collaboration;
  • to influence and hold Governments to account for children and young people; and
  • to share information, approaches and strategies for the benefit of children and young people.

Members British and Irish Network of Ombudsman and Children’s Commissioners (BINOCC)

  • ​Dr. Niall Muldoon – Ombudsman for Children Ireland
  • Anne Longfield – Children’s Commissioner for England
  • Koulla Yiasouma – Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children & Young People
  • Tam Baille – Scotland Commissioner for Children & Young People
  • ​Professor Sally Holland – ​Children’s Commissioner for Wales


Issued on behalf of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children by Heneghan PR 

For further information, please contact:
Heneghan PR
Eoghan Ó Neachtain | Grace Cooney
Tel: 01 6607395
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