Dublin teens play key role on OCO Youth Advisory Panel calling for Government action following UN Committee’s observations

Bel Nabulele Lucan

Two Dublin teenagers were involved in co-ordinating an event by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) that saw over 100 children from across Ireland discuss the action they expect from Government as a result of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations to the State. Pieces of Us; What’s Next? has been published by the OCO, detailing what children now want to happen on key issues. It follows a series of reports by the OCO as part of Ireland’s reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Toby Murphy (15) from Swords and Bel Nabulele (16) from Lucan are members of the OCO’s Youth Advisory Panel, which has played a key role in assisting the OCO in this process. 

5,515 children took part in a national online survey and 200 children participated in focus groups for Pieces of Us, the children’s report that went to the UN Committee in August 2022. The Youth Advisory Panel travelled to Geneva to share the findings of Pieces of Us. This latest report Pieces of Us: What’s Next? is the final part of the process where children reflected on the what the committee said and focused on the key actions they feel the Government now need to take. The Youth Advisory Panel hosted the event in Croke Park hearing directly from children on what they had to say about the issues children care about in Ireland. 

Education, mental health, equality, play and leisure, hearing children’s voices and protecting the most vulnerable were the key themes for children. Children are calling for a series of changes in schools and education settings. They want to take the pressure out of the Leaving Certificate; remove the stigma around the Leaving Cert Applied and Leaving Cert Vocational Programme. They want more cultural awareness training for teachers and better disability services. In mental health children want more, and better staff for CAMHS. They want shorter waiting lists and an understanding that you cannot be ‘too young’ to experience mental health issues. They want more mental health support services in schools and improvements in transgender healthcare.

Speaking about the event, Toby said “My experience in volunteering in Croke Park for “Pieces of Us – What’s Next? was really educational for me on hearing the thoughts from other young people across Ireland on children’s rights””

Bel said “Pieces of Us was a great event where so many young people had the opportunity to have their voice heard. I loved the event because it catered to everyone and I really appreciate the opportunity to impact the OCO’s important work and hopefully help to make an impact for young people.”

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said “Hearing directly from children and considering their views in the decision making process is essential. Pieces of Us: What’s Next? provides Government and policy makers with a clear insight into children’s priorities. “The OCO Youth Advisory Panel led this whole process and their hard work and commitment have been key not only to the success of the report, but to the impact that is has had in influencing the concluding observations. We will continue to share the messages from Pieces of Us: What’s Next? and to support the YAP in bringing these message directly to decision makers.”

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at info@newsgroup.ie.



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