Ireland’s 1.25 million children and youth — one quarter of the population — do not have the right to vote. So it is no surprise that politicians do not spend much time talking about child and youth well-being. This election, we want to send our politicians a message; when we head to the ballot box, we will be thinking about the best choice for children. On February 8th, we want Irish people to #VoteForEveryChild.
1. Ask every politician who comes to your door:
2. Talk to your friends, family and colleagues about casting a #VoteForEveryChild
3. Take the conversation to social #VoteForEveryChild
Ireland was the second country in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, immediate and sustained action must now follow.
Ireland is far from ensuring a safe sustainable world for children. We have been deemed the second worst-performing EU member state in terms of tackling climate change. Ireland has the third highest emissions of greenhouse gas in the EU. Ireland’s use of renewable energy is below the EU average. The latest report by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity has confirmed Ireland is experiencing potentially-catastrophic species loss and the deterioration of globally-important habitats is accelerating with 50% of freshwaters here polluted.
New legislation setting ambitious climate and renewable energy targets is necessary.
Ireland needs to reduce income inequality and child poverty. One in five children in Ireland lives below the poverty line, and close to 4,000 children are homeless. All children suffer from the impacts of wide income inequality.
We need to invest earlier in children’s lives. Investing in the earliest years leads to some of the highest rates of return to families, societies and countries. From access to healthcare to early childhood development and care, more can be achieved and prevented by increasing investment now.
The Government must protect children from physical, sexual, or psychological violence at home, in school, online, and in their communities. One in five children in Ireland are victims of some form of sexual violence. Over 55,000 child protection and welfare referrals were made to Tusla in 2018, more than one referral every ten minutes. Some 30% of children report being bullied at school once or more in the past couple of months. Children are our most vulnerable citizens their protection must be a key priority for the next Government. Tusla, The Child and Family Agency needs adequate resources to prevent, respond and protect children.
The government needs to put children first in decision making. We need to assess how every policy, law and decision affects children and youth; publish what Ireland is spending on them in our national budget; and help ensure decisions are made in the best interests of children.
To see what young people in the 13-18 age group highlight as their concerns this General Election click here
Learn more about becoming an activist for children