20 Nov 2014

20 November 2014

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney is set to end her term as Commissioner with a call for Government to do more to safeguard and enhance children and young people rights.
 
Speaking at her last public event held by NICCY, Mrs Lewsley-Mooney said that much had been achieved in her eight years as Commissioner, but that celebrating success also means looking to what still needs to be done.
 
“Since becoming Commissioner I have seen much achieved for children and young people,” she said. “I have led on issues that are key to children’s lives, such as their education and health.
 
“I have challenged government at every turn to do more, and have secured positive action for young people with special educational needs, those suffering from child sexual exploitation, participation of children and young people and, we are closer than ever to getting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child fully implemented.”
 
The Commissioner will be speaking at her Annual Event, which saw practitioners and international experts look at protecting children and young people’s rights and best interests.
 
“When I address today’s event it will be with a mixture of sadness and pride,” said Mrs Lewsley-Mooney.
 
“Sad to be leaving the best job in the world, but also very proud of what has been achieved.
 
“But there is much more to do. Government needs to put children and young people at the heart of all its work. Government needs to protect children and young people from the worst affects of poverty and austerity. Government needs to listen, act and learn from what children and young people tell it.”
 
Mrs Lewsley-Mooney concluded: “When I look back on the past eight years the abiding memory is the many, many children and young people I have met. All have been an inspiration. Sometimes we as adults forget the talent, energy and creativity of our young people.
 
“To empathise with them, to listen to them and to work with them has been a delight, and more informative than I could have imagined eight years ago.
 
“I will take those memories with me, and my successor has that discovery ahead of them.”

ENDS
 
Notes to Editors

• To bid for an interview with the Commissioner please contact: the communications team, NICCY on 02890 311 616 or email   communications@niccy.org
 
• The Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister has undertaken the recruitment process for the new commissioner and any enquiries about this should be directed to its press office.
 
• The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was established in 2003 by the Assembly and Parliament to: “safeguard and promote the rights and best interests of children and young people”.

• Each term of the Commissioner for Children and Young People is for four (4) years, and a Commissioner can only serve a maximum of two terms. The current Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney’s second term ends on 7th January 2015