You are here

Policy issues concerning Children


The latest publication in the Growing Up in Ireland study provides very useful information on the lives of nine-year-olds, and the impact of gender and family circumstances on the experiences and developmental outcomes.  Here we look at the main findings in terms of education and cognitive development. 


The impact of Covid-19 on our education system cannot be understated. It will widen the learning gap between rich and poor, impose long-term losses of income on all students - with disadvantaged students suffering greater learning losses and greater impacts on their lifetime earnings.  It could reverse much of the progress made on addressing educational disadvantage to date.


The issue of child poverty is again prominent in the European Commission agenda, with the publication of the Council Recommendation for Establishing a European Child Guarantee. In order to be successful, increased political focus is required and children must be at the heart of post-Covid recovery plans.  Increased European and national funding is also a prerequisite for success. 


Ireland is among the signatories of the recent Joint Declaration by the Ministers of the EPSCO Council ‘Overcoming poverty and social exclusion – mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on families – working together to develop prospects for strong children’. If Government is truly committed to the stated objectives of the joint declaration then significant resources and serious political and policy commitment to addressing child and family poverty are required.

The European Court of Auditors has just published a special report on child poverty in the EU entitled 'Combating child poverty – Better targeting of Commission support required'.  The report finds that child poverty remains a serious issue in the EU, and unfortunately, child poverty is likely to become even more prevalent in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  The report recommends that the European Commission target and monitor investment in tackling child poverty, particularly in the period of the new budget period 2021-2027.

The latest in the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card Series, Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries, warns that the world's richest nations must protect child wellbeing in the post-Covid 19 fallout.

The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind.  The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally


The deprivation figures published by the CSO show that almost 900,000 people still struggle to achieve a basic standard of living. The yearly increase was more than 140,000, and the fact that deprivation is increasing for almost every socio-demographic group is of real concern. 


The CSO has just published ‘Ireland's UN SDGs 2019 - Report on Indicators for Goal 4 Quality Education’.  The CSO report monitors how Ireland is progressing towards meeting its targets under the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  It examines three key areas, Childhood Education, Adult Education and Education Infrastructure.


Investment in children and families is an essential investment in our social and human capital now and into the future.  Here we outline investment priorities for children and families for Budget 2021.

Pages