Kenny: we must change abuse legacy
Taoiseach Enda Kenny says the Government must continue in its efforts to change the "shameful legacy" of neglect and child abuse that has cast a dark shadow over Ireland for decades.
Mr Kenny said that there remains significant challenges and pressures facing child protection services which need to be urgently addressed.
He was speaking at the launch of a new national framework for children which commits to lifting 70,000 young people out of poverty by 2020.
The policy, known as 'Better Outcomes Brighter Futures', also commits to delivering improved supports for families and young people who demonstrate high-risk behaviour.
Mr Kenny said that the legacy of child neglect will be changed through reform and changes in the law. He added that he wants to create a platform for Ireland to be recognised as "one of the best country in the world for raising a family".
"In the past nobody listened, our laws did not do enough to protect vulnerable children," he said.
"We know that the challenges haven't suddenly gone away. There are demand and service pressures. Sadly, child abuse and neglect doesn't go away," he said at the event in Dublin Castle.
"We are determined to change this legacy. We have led through reform. We are enhancing our laws.
"We are improving our services. We are putting children first," the Taoiseach added.
Mr Kenny gave the example of a visit he made recently to a halting site, during which he encountered a large Traveller family.
"As I looked at them, I realised that they were the same as all other children. The faces of brightness and innocence – willing to learn and observe," he said.
Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the framework is about moving on from addressing the "legacy of failings to promoting a new culture and cross-government approach to improving outcomes for all children".
"This Framework outlines what we, across Government, aspire to, and what we demand, as the best outcomes for children and young people," Ms Fitzgerald added.