Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has expressed concern about the implications of Brexit and the possibility of a hard border on child protection issues on the island of Ireland.

Deputy Rabbitte has written to the Clerk of the Oireachtas Committee on Children & Youth Affairs to invite Minister Zappone to appear before the members to outline what measures her Department has undertaken to ensure that child protection issues are being made a priority in the Brexit negotiations.

“While we are all concerned about the impact that Brexit will have on businesses and communities across the country, I am worried about the lack of discussion about children’s services, and particularly child protection issues.  I am extremely worried that this is one of the issues that has fallen off the Government’s agenda and it is not being given the consideration it deserves”, explained Deputy Rabbitte.

“While I fully appreciate the concerns that are being expressed about the economic challenges facing us as a result of Brexit, we cannot ignore the child protection issues, or indeed the human rights protections that were secured under the Good Friday Agreement.

“I am uncomfortable with the laissez-faire approach to child protection issues which has been adopted to date.  These concerns need to be addressed regardless of whether there is a hard or invisible border in place.

“I would like Minister Zappone to outline if these issues have been discussed with the Minister for Justice, or indeed the Gardaí, PSNI or Europol.  We must ensure that the island of Ireland is not allowed to become an easy target for child traffickers and all of the relevant authorities need to be consulted.

“I have asked the Clerk of the Children’s Committee to request Minister Zappone’s attendance at the next meeting so that she can outline what engagement she and her Department have had with other Departments and authorities to date.  We must ensure that these child protection issues are not ignored any longer”.

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