Preoccupation with bank bailouts 'deeply worrying'


'CHILDREN'S MANIFESTO':THE “TOTAL preoccupation of election candidates with bank bailouts and the IMF” to the exclusion of debating serious social concerns was “deeply worrying”, the chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardos has said.

Fergus Finlay, speaking at the publication of the organisation’s “children’s manifesto” for the election yesterday, said the political parties must start opening up debate about the social crisis.

His call echoed that of the Enda Egan, chief executive of the Carers Association last week, who said he was worried pressing social issues were “getting lost” in the election.

Barnardos says radical change is needed in the way services are delivered to vulnerable and poor children. It calls for a new department of social care which would have particular responsibility for child welfare, family-support services and the protection of vulnerable groups such as the disabled.

Mr Finlay said promised new measures had not been implemented by the Government, including the holding of a children’s rights referendum and the provision of after-care supports for children leaving State care.

Director of advocacy with Barnardos Norah Gibbons called on the incoming government not to cut welfare and public services to children and families any further.

She called for an “absolute plan” for the next 10 years to commit to early-years education.