Ombudsman for Children (OCO) Annual Report 2023 highlights the organisation’s ongoing interest in Traveller and Roma children’s rights

Today, the Ombudsman for Children (OCO) released its Annual Report 2023 “Uncertain Times”. Dr Niall Muldoon, head of the OCO, stated that there is a climate of “uncertainty and instability” for youth in Ireland. Commenting on the launch of the Annual Report and its findings, Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, said, “Pavee Point is grateful to the OCO, and Dr Niall Muldoon, for their continuing interest in and work surrounding Roma and Traveller children’s rights, illustrated in their Annual Report.”

Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children, launching the 2023 OCO Annual Report

 Pavee Point has advocated and continues to advocate for disaggregated data in order to monitor outcomes for Traveller and Roma children. In 2023, the OCO raised the lack of data around children in the Traveller and Roma communities at the Council of Europe Advisory committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Crickley continued, “In the OCO’s first report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights last year, the organisation highlighted discrimination against children, the Habitual Residence condition, and child poverty, among others. Each of these issues greatly affects Traveller and Roma children as minority groups.”

Speaking to the future and possible next steps, she said, “Next year, we would like to see more inclusion of Roma and Traveller children, particularly their direct inclusion and participation in Child Talks, OCO’s innovative event that gives children a platform to discuss issues important to them, and its Youth Advisory Panel (YAP).”

The OCO’s report and investigation ‘No End in Site’ on Spring Lane Halting Site, Cork, in 2021, highlighted several concerns, including damp accommodation, rodent infestation, and illegal dumping. This report was crucial in securing almost 20 million in funding for its redevelopment and illustrates the organisation’s commitment to improving living conditions of Traveller and Roma Children.