Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Consultations with Children and Young People and Their Impact on Policy in Ireland

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Abstract:  This article will examine the participatory structures for consulting with children in Ireland. It provides a background with reference to the National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2015)—the first of its kind in Europe—its key objectives, and recent progress in meeting these. Examples of two consultations with children, on health and afterschool care, and their impact on policy, will be discussed. The potential for consultations of this kind to influence and child-proof policy will be reflected on; the argument in this article is that there are different levels of participation for different purposes. The author worked with colleagues on two national consultations in 2015 and 2016 involving children between 5 to 17 years of age utilising a variety of child-centred activities. The methods are strengths-based consultative approaches that allow children to identify and explore issues based on what they know and experience in their everyday lives. Initial reflections indicate that consultations with children can be an important and challenging tool in accessing their views on policy issues of importance to them which help to child-proof policy and ensure it is in the best interests of children.

Keywords:  child participation; children’s rights; consultations; Ireland; policymaking



© Deirdre Horgan. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.