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O'Sullivan concern over Child Protection Report

29 May 2017

Statement by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Spokesperson on Housing & Local Government, Enterprise & Innovation

Labour Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has expressed deep concern over the findings of a report into the State’s child protection system.

The audit by the special rapporteur on child protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, found evidence of serious failings in the system and that a complete cultural change was needed.

 Deputy O’Sullivan commented:

“It is quite clear from the findings of this report that the current system for protecting children in this State is completely inadequate.

“Sadly the report also confirms concerns that I have been raising for some time about the need for a comprehensive, 24-hour social work service for children at risk.

“This was highlighted by the ISPCC as recently as last month following a HIQA review of childcare in Dublin South Central, which also found major protection risks.

“The Government now needs to significantly ramp up its recruitment efforts for more social workers.

"We know that turnover in the sector is high, so every effort must be made to ensure experienced staff are retained in the service.

“To this effect I am echoing my previous call for a national campaign to attract qualified social workers who have moved to other areas within the sector to be encouraged back, and to attract new staff.

“It is also clear from highlighted cases that Gardaí need to be specially trained and equipped to deal with sensitive child protection cases.

“Dr Geoffrey Shannon has done an important service in this report, and the Government now needs to act on it as a matter of great importance.

“I note that neither candidates running to be the next leader of Fine Gael- and ultimately the leader of this country- have made any reference to improve child protection in their policy platforms. I hope that whoever takes the helm will move to prioritise quality child protection services, which are so desperately needed.”