UN Human Rights Body Critical of State on Children’s Mental Health Provision

UN Human Rights Body Critical of State on Children’s Mental Health Provision

Commission’s Recommendations Feature Heavily in Report

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘The Commission’) welcomes the Concluding Observations published today by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Committee came to their conclusions after a process that involved input from children, civil society, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office and the Commission. It culminated in a two day public meeting held in Geneva, 24th to 25th January during which State representatives led by Minister Roderic O’Gorman were examined on the state of children’s rights in Ireland.

In their Concluding Observations, the Committee noted areas of progress made by the State since the last review held in 2016, including the commencement of the Children First Act and Children and Family Relationships Act, together with the adoption of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021, the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and the Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027. They also welcomed the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2018.

However, the report continues to set out key areas in which urgent action is needed from the State to protect the rights of the child, including on mental health, violence, non-discrimination, standard of living, education and child justice. Key Concluding Observations mentioned include recommendations;

  • On Health and Welfare: that the State significantly increases resources for mental health services, ensures regular follow-up of children in treatment and explicitly prohibits the practice of placing children with mental health issues in adult psychiatric units.
  • On Data Collection: that the State adequately resources all government departments to implement the upcoming National Equality Strategy, and that equality data on children is published in accessible and age-appropriate formats.
  • On Non-discrimination: that the review of the Equality Acts is expedited and implemented to protect children’s rights, and that sufficient resources are allocated for the launch of the National Action Plan Against Racism. The Committee noted its concern about persistent discrimination against children of minority groups.
  • On Violence against Children: that the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence is revised to ensure refuge accommodation provision is in line with Council of Europe standards. It also recommends that the Third National Strategy on DSGBV is effectively implemented, enabling children to apply for protection and safety orders in their own right and ensuring child-friendly and multi-sectoral support for child victims of violence.
  • On Disability: that the State takes a human-rights based approach to disability legislation, revises the standard operating procedure for Assessments of Need, and allows sufficient resources for the implementation of Irish Sign Language Act.
  • On Asylum-Seeking, Refugee and Migrant Children: that the State ensures that all asylum-seeking children, including disabled children, have prompt access to housing, education, health services, social protection, psychosocial integration support and reasonable accommodation.
  • On Trafficking of Children: that the State establish a national referral mechanism for the identification and referral of child victims of trafficking.
  • On Public Sector Duty: that the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty is extended to government procurement.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“While the Committee acknowledged progress made by the State over the past 6 years, they also identified serious shortcomings that must be urgently acted upon if Ireland is to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We thank the Committee for paying such close attention to our own submission. We called on them to be a critical friend to Ireland.  These unambiguous, detailed and precise conclusions provide a clear roadmap for policy makers and legislators to improve the lives of children in Ireland, particularly those who need access to vital mental health and social services, and those at risk of discrimination.

The State now has to make tangible progress on these observations with a thorough implementation plan, developed with the participation of children. In line with our statutory functions, we look forward to keeping this response under review.”



Notes to Editors:

The Concluding Observations on the Combined Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of Ireland

IHREC’s Submission on Ireland and the Rights of the Child, August 2022


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