Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal and outgoing Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children & Youth Affairs, Alan Farrell, has called for the retention of the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.
Deputy Farrell said, “Like many, I have been concerned by the speculation that the Department of Children & Youth Affairs’ future may be in question and have in recent days, been inundated with emails and phone calls on this issue. I believe wholeheartedly, that the Department should remain and moreover, it should be led by a Minister at Cabinet level.”
“For too many decades, children’s rights were not prioritised by our society. Sadly, we have seen the abuses that can take place in the vacuum of leadership. To now turn away from the progress we have made in recent years would be to risk repeating the mistakes of the past or to allow the importance of the Departments work to become a secondary consideration.”
Deputy Farrell continued, “It is not all that long ago, that the Irish people spoke in favour of amending our constitution to protect children’s rights. This led to the development of the DCYA and in turn, the Department oversaw the creation of TUSLA in the years that followed; this was a major step forward in providing children all across this island with the protection and dignity they deserve.
“Fine Gael lead administrations have prioritised Children’s rights, care standards and educational settings since the appointment of a Cabinet level Minister for Children in 2011. In the recent term of Government, expenditure has increased by 141% and the Department now manages the sixth largest budget of any Government Department.”
“These events marked the most transformative and profound changes in delivering support for families, early intervention services and child protection, this nation has ever witnessed. It is undoubtedly something we should all take pride in.”
Deputy Farrell added, “Having a dedicated Department, populated with hard working women and men for the sole purpose of giving our children the best possible chance in life is an invaluable asset to this Government and all those that will follow.”
“I believe that the only consideration we should be giving to the future of the Department of Children & Youth Affairs, is how best we can strengthen and expand its mission.”