Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Discussion
I have stated previously that social media have some very positive aspects, such as community groups, community development and how children interact with each other through youth clubs, etc. There are even online advisory fora where they can discuss issues. We need to have a balanced debate.
Senator Freeman spoke about political motivation in the context of mental health and asked where we will go with the next Government. I do not have to preach to the converted and the witnesses and I are on the same page. Mental health has come from such a low base. In the 1990s, few people voted on mental health issues. They may have spoken about it but they did not go to the polling stations to vote on mental health. Now more and more people are doing so and it is up to the likes of us across the party divide to keep pushing this. In the next election when people go to doors the voters will decide. Voters will state they will vote on mental health and ask about the policies. I remember going to doors with my father in the 1990s with a policy on mental health and people were looking at me asking why we had a policy on mental health and asking what it was all about. That was in 1997. We have come all the way from there. We have come from such a low base. To be honest, the witnesses are right and the people will drive it by how they vote on it, if they vote. It is incumbent on us, as politicians, to get this. That is my tuppence worth.