A Mayo teenager has played a key role on the OCO Youth Advisory Panel, which is calling on the Government to take action following a UN Committee’s observations.

16 year old Sinead Murray from Ballina was involved in co-coordinating an event by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.

Here, the group discussed the actions they expect the Government to take as a result of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations to the State.

This follows on from a series of reports by the OCO as part of Ireland’s reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

A member of the OCO’s Youth Advisory Panel, Sinéad has helped to play a key role in assisting the OCO in this process.

Over 5,000 children took part in a national online survey, with 200 children participating in focus groups for Piece Of Us – this was the children’s report that went to the UN Committee in August of 2022.

Most recently the OCO published Piece Of Us: What’s Next?, which is the final part of the process where children reflected on the thoughts and findings of the committee and focused on the key actions that they see fitting for the Government to take.

Education, mental health, equality, play and leisure, hearing children’s’ voices and protecting the most vulnerable were the key themes for children.

Children are now calling on a series of changes in school and education settings – including taking the pressure out of the Leaving Cert, removing stigma surrounding the Leaving Cert Applied and LCVP (Leaving Cert Vocational Programme).

Better disability services and cultural awareness for teachers are also among the key points that have been raised.

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