Children and young people face a cold and hungry Christmas due to political stalemate

21 December 2023 News

Children and young people face a cold and hungry Christmas due to political stalemate the Children’s Commissioner has said.

Chris Quinn, NI Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said that Northern Ireland is witnessing a “gross derogation of rights, rising poverty and growing public discontent and frustration.”

“Just last week one of our NGOs ‘Action for Children’ stated that thousands of young people face a Christmas without presents and without a celebration. It’s heartbreaking to hear that many families may struggle to warm their homes, or even have enough to eat.

“I don’t know how anyone could fail to be moved at the thought of a child enduring a cold, hungry and joyless Christmas. However, that thought does not seem to be incentive enough to resolve the current situation.”

“I met with and have subsequently written to the Secretary of State for NI as well as with MLAs from the main political parties, reiterating the UNCRC call to withdraw the current NI Budget.  It is crucial that we have immediate release of additional funds to address the current crisis and enable discussions on future budgeting and resourcing.

“I am calling on the political leaders to reflect on the ongoing adverse impacts and the damage that further delay is causing. This situation will only worsen with each day that passes. We’re robustly monitoring the budget situation and assessing the cumulative impact on children and young people.

“Every day that the important decisions are not being taken is unacceptable for children and young people who like many, have already been waiting too long for urgent and pressing issues to be addressed.”

“Urgent change is needed. Whilst a restored, accountable, sustainable Executive alone will not be able to solve everything, our children and young people simply cannot afford to wait any longer!”

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