Commission Calls on State to Address Mental Health Needs of Children as UN Committee Reviews Ireland on Children’s Rights

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is meeting with State representatives in Geneva today, beginning a two day public meeting examining children’s rights in Ireland.

The interactive dialogue session is the first review of Ireland since 2016 and is taking place during the 92nd session of the Committee. The State delegation will be led by the Minister for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, and will be attended by our Commission, the Ombudsman for Children, and civil society representatives.

We made our submission in August 2022 in which we made over 100 recommendations on a wide range of children’s rights topics. Some of our key recommendations include that the State has an obligation:

  • On Health and Welfare: To urgently address the mental health needs of children in Ireland, through the full implementation of national policies to improve the capacity and quality of services, increased funding provision and by responding to emerging needs due to the impact of the pandemic. The State should also establish an accessible and independent child specific mental health advocacy and information service.
  • On Data: To improve the availability of disaggregated equality data on children across all sectors, including by mandating all bodies subject to the Public Sector Duty to collect, process, and publish such data.
  • On Non-discrimination: To legislate for hate crime and hate speech, and prioritise ongoing specialised child-specific training for An Garda Síochána, the judiciary and the legal profession, and to expedite the publication of the National Action Plan Against Racism.
  • On Civil Rights: To prioritise the enactment of legislation to secure the rights of children born through surrogacy arrangements and amend current legislation to ensure access to education for all children, including to define ‘ethos’ and precisely what is required to establish that a refusal was ‘essential’ to maintain the ethos of the school.
  • On Violence against Children: To ensure the adequately resourced provision of specialised, accessible and multi-disciplinary services and refuge spaces for child victims and survivors of violence, taking into account cultural, ethnic, disability and other identities.
  • On Education: To ensure access to early childhood education, early development programmes and inclusive education for disabled children, including through adequate planning and the provision of rehabilitation programmes, assistive devices and reasonable accommodation.

At the pre-session meeting for the review at the end of September 2022, we welcomed a number of positive policy and legislative developments made in the preceding months. However, with multiple policy initiatives highlighted by the State throughout its reports and engagements, we voiced our concern on the extent to which implementation was being achieved to ensure real and tangible benefits for children, pointing to the need for concrete actions.

The review of Ireland will finish on Wednesday 25th of January with the Committee’s Concluding Observations to be released in February.

Chief Commissioner Sinead Gibney,

“Reviews such as this are crucial in holding the State to account on children’s rights, and central to ensuring that the voice of the child is at the heart of how we make policy and legislate. While some progress has been made, the State needs to redouble its efforts if it is to fulfil its Convention commitments, and should commit to the treaty process in a constructive manner.

As Ireland’s A-Status National Human Rights Institution, we have fully engaged with the Committee throughout Ireland’s formal review process and we look forward to the publication of the Concluding Observations and our role in monitoring its implementation.”



Notes to Editors:

You can watch a livestream of the CRC’S Ireland Review Session on UN TV

You can read Our Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Ireland’s combined fifth and sixth periodic reports here




The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1990 and is the most widely accepted international human rights treaty, with 197 signatory State Parties. Ireland ratified the CRC in 1992.


As a party to the CRC, Ireland has committed to respect, protect and fulfil the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. Substantive rights provided by the Convention include non-discrimination, best interests of the child, civil rights and freedoms, violence against children, family environment and alternative care and others.


The Committee on the Rights of the Child is responsible for monitoring the CRC and is made up of 18 independent experts, elected to four year terms by State parties and who serve in their personal capacity.


The Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s NHRI and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s National Equality Body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,


01 852 9641 / 087 468 7760

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