Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore, has warned that a hard Brexit could potentially impact on the rights of children to access healthcare, housing and education on both sides of the border.

Speaking in the Dáil today on the Brexit Omnibus Bill, Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Children, said:

“A lot of the conversation around Brexit to date has been about the impact on businesses and certain sectors such as fishing and trade, which are obviously very important. However, we should not forget the socio-economic impact of Brexit on children across the country and the potential effects a hard Brexit could have on the rights of children in accessing healthcare, housing and educational supports throughout the island of Ireland.

“There are also child welfare and child poverty concerns in the event that Brexit negatively impacts on our economy and if Northern Ireland does not have access to European funding. This could mean less investment in early prevention and other services that help keep children and families out of poverty.

“Overall, any impact on the rights of children would go against the EU Convention on Human Rights and the Good Friday Agreement. My concern is that the current legislation going through the UK Parliament will undermine the protections guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. If this bill passes in its current form it will have serious repercussions for children, both north and south of the border, in terms of their rights.

“It’s important that the Minister for Trade and the Minister for Children raise these concerns at every juncture. I will be seeking a commitment from them that this is the case as negotiations continue.

“We need to prepare ourselves for the potential impact that a hard Brexit could have on children who could be particularly vulnerable to this huge economic change.”

November 11, 2020

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