[Sinn Fein]

4 January 2000

Child protection action across Ireland backed by Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein has backed the call by the NSPCC and ISPCC children's agencies for greater co-operation and parity of action on child protection on an all-Ireland basis.

Sinn Fein West Belfast Assembly member and Spokesperson on Children's Issues, Sue Ramsey, said:

``The logic of a legislative framework and the exchange of information right across Ireland in the area of child protection has been a central part of Sinn Fein's approach to improving protection for children and vulnerable adults.

``The development of common standards and access to child protections registers operated by the Department of Health in the North and by organisations in the South as well as reciprocal arrangements is a key area that can be pursued through the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC).

``There is a serious concern that the action taken by First Minister David Trimble to exclude the Sinn Fein Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety from formal NSMC meetings will hinder the good start that has already been made in this area by both Bairbre de Brún and Martin McGuinness.''  ENDS

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