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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)

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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)

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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)

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Senator Jillian van Turnhout

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Address to Seanad Éireann by Ms Anne Brasseur (Resumed)
Snippet Contents:

I am an Independent Senator and I say to Ms Brasseur, welcome and bienvenue. My background is in children's rights and I have long admired the work of the Council of Europe. In fact my first experience in the area came 25 years ago with the then youth directorate, now youth department, of the Council of Europe. I became familiar with the way it trained future youth leaders and I thank the Council of Europe for this experience. It is good to see that this work continues today and that there is a system of co-management in the area of youth policy. This means youth non-governmental organisations, NGOs, work with officials from member states to determine budgets and programmes for young people. Member states should note how the Council of Europe has succeeded in engaging with those it funds to reach democratic decisions.
I commend the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on its work and the emphasis it has placed on children's rights. We must build a Europe with children for children. The Council's work has been a forerunner of much of what has been done at EU level. The Council has worked on children in care and child-friendly justice but the EU's work in this regard has been protectionist. The Council's work on child-friendly justice is remarkable and I draw from it often in my work in the Seanad. I am glad that experts such as Ursula Kilkelly play a leading role on this work in the Council of Europe.
Ms Brassuer mentioned work on domestic violence and child abuse and the importance of Ireland ratifying the Lanzarote Convention and the Istanbul Convention, among others. We must live up to our roles. One of the benefits of having this debate with Ms Brasseur present is we can discuss the future role of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe is a good forum for discussing issues such as youth policy, children's rights, child-friendly justice and domestic violence. All too often it may take years for the EU to then pick up on this and often in a pick and mix way without the integrity of the Council of Europe. I echo what Senator Mooney said as it is something I am also thinking about. Perhaps Members of this House should discuss this rather than just being bystanders because we have a role as parliamentarians to support the colleagues that represent us in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
I thank Ms Brasseur for acknowledging our colleague, Senator David Norris. She reminds us to be proud of the role he played. He did something of historic importance and used the European Convention on Human Rights in a very positive way. We should continue to draw reference from this fact. Can Ireland be a leader rather than a follower?