Date: 15th March 2011
LAUREATE NA NÓG WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF NEW MINISTER FOR CHILDREN AND MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS
Laureate na nÓg, Siobhan Parkinson, has welcomed the appointment of Frances Fitzgerald T.D. as the new Minister for Children. “The creation of a full Ministry for Children is a very positive development,” said Dr. Parkinson. “We are encouraged that the appointment of a senior Minister will focus on the needs and rights of children. This important development will go a long way to addressing the many urgent issues surrounding child welfare.”
Dr. Parkinson was appointed Children’s Literature Laureate in May 2010 and has focussed her laureateship on raising the profile of children’s literature in Ireland. She has been particularly active in promoting the rights of children to a full imaginative and intellectual life, in particular through access to libraries in their schools and communities.
Dr. Parkinson also welcomed the appointment of Ruairi Quinn T.D. as Minister for Education and Skills. “During the recent election campaign, Mr. Quinn’s literacy policy showed a clear understanding of the importance of school libraries.
“All of us who have seen the transformative power that access to books can bring are very concerned about the situation in primary schools. In 2009, the Department of Education ceased all support to local authority libraries for primary school libraries. Trained professional librarians are no longer making informed and thoughtful purchases for school libraries, and the result is bound to be that lower quality books are finding their way, at state expense, into our school libraries. And at second level, the splendid work of Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) libraries needs continued and reliable support. I look forward to discussing this vital issue with Ministers Fitzgerald