United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992. The Convention outlines in detail the standards that apply to the needs of children, and binds States to adhere to these standards. The Convention is informed by four core principles: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development and respect for the views of the child.

States’ adherence to the Convention is periodically assessed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, an elected group of independent human rights experts in children’s rights.

2022 UNCRC ReportIreland and the Rights of the Child

In September 2022, we published our latest report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Recommendations include:

  • That a clear timeline be set out for the publication and implementation of the new Action Plan on Bullying and Cyberbullying, informed by the meaningful and inclusive participation of children.
  • That the State improves 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.
  • That efforts to legislate for hate crime and hate speech prioritise ongoing specialised child-specific training for An Garda Síochána, the judiciary and the legal profession, as well as the provision of clear and precise definitions of relevant terms
  • That the State amend the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 and the Equal Status Acts 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.
  • That legislation on school admissions should prohibit the use of a connection with a former student of the school as a criterion in the admission of a student.
  • Schools should be mandated to include disaggregated equality data when discharging their reporting duties.
  • That the State consider amending the Education Act 1998 to set down minimum standards for a school’s policy on arrangements for students who opt-out of denominational teaching, or use Ministerial power to make regulations on how schools shall provide for such students.
  • That the State establishes a clear long-term plan for how it will meet its targets for the establishment of non-denominational and multi-denominational schools and the divestment of schools from religious patronage.

2016 UNCRC Report 

In 2016, we submitted a detailed report to the UN Committee on Ireland’s record under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Read the report: Ireland and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Report by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to the Un Committee on the Rights of the Child on Ireland’s Combined Third and Fourth Periodic Reports

The report outlines a range of areas where the State has fallen short of its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Areas include:

  • Child-rights centred independent monitoring mechanisms
  • Public procurement and children’s rights
  • Child-friendly budgeting
  • Child health, including reproductive health and services
  • Poverty
  • Homelessness
  • The legacy of historical child abuse and gaps in child protection
  • Diversity in education
  • Asylum and direct provision
  • Family and Care Proceedings
  • Gender recognition