Luke-Peter Silke, PRO of Ógra Aontú has, this evening, written to the leaders of the three political parties engaged in government formation warning against the abolition of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

In a strongly worded email, Mr Silke said that many young people in Ireland are deeply concerned over talk of the abolition of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

He added; “In recent weeks we have seen the immense pressure both the Department of Education and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs have come under as a result of the Covid_19 pandemic. We firmly disagree with the suggestion that both departments should be merged. It is difficult to imagine a future Minister for Education tackling questions in the Dáil chamber on topics like TUSLA, child protection, childcare and youth mental health; on top of issues of education, student grants, exam timetables, construction of schools, teacher pay, etc.”

Mr Silke made Ógra Aontú’s position clear: “We firmly believe that there is a necessity for a Department of Children and Youth Affairs in this country, so that we may hold Tusla and the childcare sector to account. We wish to remind you, the leaders of the parties currently involved in government formation talks, of the reasons behind the establishment of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs”.

“Tusla was created by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 and made answerable to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. That department’s mission is to lead the effort to improve outcomes for children and young people in Ireland. There is a great need for this mission in Ireland today, especially given this country’s historic treatment of children. We must ensure going forward that a government department exists to hold Tusla to account and ensure that the interests of all children, and particularly vulnerable children, are a priority for government”

“We urge you to retain the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and not to abolish it, as we believe that with the right person in charge, it has the potential to carry out this important work in the future”, concluded Mr Silke.