'Corporal punishment now impossible to defend' - Reilly tells UN committee

The minister is testifying before a UN committee on child protection

Newstalk, UN Committee, childrens rights, emergency accommodation, Childrens Rights Alliance, homelessness, access to education

Minister James Reilly | File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Children's Minister James Reilly says the change in law regarding slapping children makes it quite impossible for people to defend corporal punishment.

Mr Reilly is leading the Irish delegation at the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

It is to give an update to the UN on how children are treated by the State - for the first time in a decade.

Minister Reilly was responding to questions on the Children First Guidelines.

Commenting on the one in nine children who are living in poverty, Minister Reilly told the committee that the impact of the recession cannot be understated.

Homelessness and access to education are two of the main issues expected to be raised.

The committee has raised particular concerns over the fact that around a 1,000 Irish children are currently living in emergency accommodation.

One of those attending the hearing is Tanya Ward of the Children's Rights Alliance.

Speaking before the hearing, she said she hopes it will focus attention on the issue.

"We have a serious issue in Ireland where we have 1,600 children living in emergency accommodation with their families", she said.

"This accommodation is normally hotels, it is normally in one room, and what is very serious about Ireland is that children are living in these situations for long periods of time", she added.