Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Business of Joint Committee

9:30 am

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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We have a quorum and will commence in public session. I welcome Ms Maud de Boer-Buquiccio, the UN special rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, who is in the Visitors Gallery. A number of the members met earlier with Ms de Boer-Buquiccio and had the opportunity to discuss her brief. She has now served four years of a six year term and has brought emphasis in respect of ICT patterns, international illegal adoption and commercial surrogacy.

We discussed the migration of children and the undocumented. We also discussed what the committee could focus on into the future. In the context of previous discussions with the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the adoption tracing Bill and the guardian ad litemsystem were raised. The UN special rapporteur expressed a particular interest in the issue of child protection in the context of Ireland's ratification of the optional protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography and the Lanzarote Convention as well as child protection in the context of children's institutions, the Roma community and exceptions to 18 as the legal age for marriage, past illegal adoptions and children's rights in general. During our discussions in private session earlier, we also referred to the issues of mother and baby homes, the Magdalen laundries and survivors of same in order that Ms de Boer-Buquiccio be made aware of the work the work we are doing here in Ireland to address historical issues and to get redress for those affected.

Members of the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs share an interest in the matters that Ms de Boer-Buquiccio has brought to our attention, including in particular the matter of ICT-related abuse. This committee published a report recently on cybersecurity for children and young people. We spent approximately six months preparing that report, with all vested interests making presentations to the committee. We heard from those representing the voice of the child, from teachers, parents and the ICT industry. One of our finer moments was a meeting attended by four Government Ministers. We met the Ministers for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Justice and Equality, Education and Skills, and Children and Youth Affairs who spent a lot of time with us, listening to our findings and taking them on board. That was a very successful meeting. Cybersecurity is not just an issue for one Department but straddles several which is why that meeting was so important. I will now present Ms Maud de Boer-Buquiccio with a copy of the committee's report.