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UN Children’s Committee Vice Chair who expressed alarm at Ireland’s Mental Health Services visits Ireland

Member of UN Committee on Rights of the Child, Prof Philip D. Jaffé in Dublin for OCO children’s event

A leading member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will be in Dublin this week (Friday, July 21) for a children’s event hosted by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) at Croke Park.

During Ireland’s positive and constructive dialogue with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January, while acknowledging significant progress in many areas, the Vice Chair Prof Philip D. Jaffé expressed his surprise that Ireland is not in the top tier of countries with regard to children’s health and mental health.

He also shared his alarm in relation to the interim CAMHS report which revealed a lack of governance, children lost in the system and the fact that a significant number of children were not medically monitored. Prof Jaffé was particularly concerned that in Ireland, a country that is host to the foremost high tech and big data companies, only one in five community healthcare organisations manages their records digitally.

Prof Jaffé rigorously questioned the Irish State in relation to the need for good quality data in relation to children’s services. He also raised the rights of Traveller children, children with disabilities, children in care and children in poverty.

Prof Jaffé is in Dublin for the OCO’s Pieces of Me – What’s Next; an event where 100 children will get the chance to share their views on what the Government should now prioritise for children. Pieces of Us is a report which highlights the voices of the 5,515 children who took part in a national online survey and 200 who participated in focus groups. It was presented to the UN Committee in 2022 by our Youth Advisory Panel and this event is an opportunity for children to have their say on what should happen next.

During his trip Prof Jaffé will also visit Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus and he will meet officials from the new Child Poverty and Well-being Programme Office in the Department of An Taoiseach. He will also meet with Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth officials in relation to the new Policy Framework for Children and Young People, and the Ombudsman has also invited a number of NGOs to a lunchtime roundtable with Prof Jaffé.

Speaking ahead of the Croke Park event, Prof Jaffé said:

“As a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, I am privileged to meet and listen to hundreds of inspiring children all over the world. This trip is an important opportunity for me to absorb everything the young people in Ireland have to say and to capture the challenges they face.”

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon commented:

“We are delighted to have Prof Jaffé joining us for our children’s event this week and I know it will mean a lot to the children attending to have such direct access to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

“Prof Jaffé has asked strong and challenging questions of the Irish State, particularly in relation to children’s mental health and how Ireland is ensuring that all children have equal opportunities. I am sure that he will take a lot from the children he meets in Ireland.

Dr Carmel Corrigan, OCO Head of Participation and Rights Education who led in coordinating the Pieces of Us report added:

“The Pieces of Us- What’s Next event is unique in that it will give a children’s perspective on the Concluding Observations of the UNCRC and the concerns that were raised. The children who worked on our Pieces of Us report were the heart and soul of the report- it was their voices and their insights, and so it’s important that they also have a say on what happens next.”