European Parliament elections: With 1 in 9 children in Ireland living in consistent poverty UNICEF urges citizens to vote for children

21st May 2019


European Parliament elections: With 1 in 9 children in Ireland living in consistent poverty UNICEF urges citizens to vote for children

DUBLIN, 20th May 2019 – Child rights organisations across Ireland and the rest of Europe have joined forces to urge a new generation of Members of Parliament (MEPs) to protect and defend children’s rights when elected later this week.

The Vote for Children coalition has linked up with MEPs from the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights to encourage candidates running in the elections to become ‘Child Rights Champions’. Candidates will become Child Rights Champions by pledging to BREAK cycles of poverty and inequality in Europe, INVEST in children both inside and outside the bloc, LISTEN to children’s voices and INVOLVE them in decisions affecting them.

The following are the Child Rights Champions of the Irish 2019 European Parliament Candidates

Barry Andrews

Lynne Boylan MEP

Gillian Brien

Malcom Byrne Cllr.

Deirdre Clune MEP

Ciarán Cuffe Cllr.

Mark Durkan

Gary Gannon Cllr.

Rita Harrold

Alice Mary Higgins

Sean Kelly MEP

Mairead McGuinness MEP
Saoirse McHugh

Sheila Nunan

Grace O’Sullivan Senator

Anne Rabbitte TD

Mick Wallace TD
Alex White

The campaign is an urgent call to action to guarantee children’s wellbeing. Over 25 million children in Europe are at risk of poverty and exclusion, with one in six children outside Europe living in conflict settings, where boys and girls are increasingly victims of targeted and gender-based violence.

Children make up half the population in developing countries and around 100 million children live in the European Union. Children and young people are a particularly important constituent in Ireland. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number of children and young people under 25 years of age represents 33.2% of the total population. In fact, Ireland has highest percentage of young people in the European Union. However, these are not just numbers, these are futures.

In Ireland 1 in 9, or about 132,000 of Ireland’s children grow up in consistent poverty. Similarly, in many other countries, across the EU and the world, children continue to face extreme poverty, discrimination and inequality where, half of the world’s poor are children.

“We need a Europe that protects and promotes the rights of every child, everywhere across the world. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, ratified by all EU Member States, the EU has a historic opportunity to become the first regional institution that listens to children and involves them in decisions affecting them.” says, Sandie Blanchet, Director of UNICEF’s EU HQ.

In Europe, for the first time in a generation, people are worried that their children might not have as bright a future as they had. Austerity and rising inequality means that millions of children are at risk of experiencing poverty and exclusion.

Some children continue to be treated differently to their peers such as children with disabilities, or Roma children, many of whom are confined to grow up in institutions away from nurturing family settings, or migrant and refugee children who are socially excluded and denied access to basic social services.

Outside of Europe, the situation is dire for children. Although there has been progress, children in developing countries continue to face extreme poverty, discrimination and inequality.

The EU has been a principled aid donor, defender of rights and champion of sustainable development, thus the Vote for Children coalition calls on European Parliamentary candidates to provide their support in defending and protecting children’s rights at home and abroad and to ensure a sustainable future that leaves no child behind. We need a Europe that delivers for every child.


Download the ‘Child Rights Champion’ flyer here.

Notes to editors

About Vote for Children

Vote for children is a coalition campaign seeking for children’s issues to top the agenda for the European Parliament elections in 2019. The members of the Vote for Children coalition are organisations working on children’s issues including Eurochild, ChildFund Alliance, the European Youth Forum, Hope and Homes for Children, Lumos, Plan International, Missing Children Europe, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes, the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, Save the Children, World Vision, World organization of the Scout Movement, and UNICEF.

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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For more information, please contact:

UNICEF Ireland


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