Children and young people ‘really affected’ by pandemic, says ombudsman

Some children with disabilities or learning difficulties unsupported due to virus, Child Talks hears

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he understands ‘how difficult the last eight months have been in all our lives and how much you have missed out on’. Photograph: iStock

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he understands ‘how difficult the last eight months have been in all our lives and how much you have missed out on’. Photograph: iStock

 

Some children with disabilities or learning difficulties did not have the support they needed over recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ombudsman for Children has said.

Dr Niall Muldoon said children and young people have been “really affected” by the pandemic over the last eight months.

Dr Muldoon was speaking on an online broadcast of Child Talks 2020 to mark World Children’s Day on Friday. Child Talks is an annual Ted Talks style event that aims to elevate the voices of children and young people.

“They were taken away from schools back in March, had to learn from home. Some people were affected even more if they didn’t have the right IT or computers. Some children with disabilities or learning needs didn’t have the support they needed so it’s been a really difficult time for a lot of children and young people.”

Also speaking at the event, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the goal of building a better world for children and young people into the future is “more important than ever this year as we deal with the global Covid-19 pandemic”.

Mr Martin said children and young people should be proud of what they have achieved and should bring the learnings of recent months “into the future and make your families, your society and the world a better place”.

“I appreciate how difficult the last eight months have been in all our lives and how much you have missed out on,” he added.

“I understand that you are worried for yourself, your family and your friends. I also know how resilient and strong you are and how supportive you are of each other.

“Please continue to remember the actions and values that really make a difference; self-esteem, kindness, tolerance and social consciousness.”

A number of children and young people spoke about their experiences with the environment, their mental health, homelessness and identity.