Following their recent examination of Ireland's compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have released their 'Concluding Observations on the Combined Third and Fourth Periodic Reports of Ireland'.
In its report, the UNCRC has drawn attention to a number of areas of concern in youth justice, namely:
- The lowering of the age of criminal responsibility for serious crimes to 10 years of age, under the Criminal Justice Act 2006; and
- The continued detention of 17 year-old-boys in adult detention facilities.
In light of these concerns, the UNCRC has urged the government to "bring its juvenile justice system into line with the Convention and other relevant standards", through enacting the following measures:
- Raising the age of criminal responsibility back up to 14 years of age, as had previously been the case under the Children Act 2001;
- In cases where detention is unavoidable, to ensure that it is for the shortest possible period of time; that children are not detained together with adults and that the conditions of detention comply with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services;
- And to use the technical assistance tools and, as necessary, seek technical assistance in the area of youth justice from members of the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice.
Children's Rights Alliance: International Spotlight on Ireland's Treatment of Children - Are We There Yet?
Children's Rights Alliance: A Report to UNCRC from Children Living in Ireland