Today, Wednesday 5 March 2014, Senator Jillian van Turnhout and the Independent Group of Senators (Taoiseach’s Nominees) table a Motion condemning child beauty pageants in Ireland.
Referring to the strength of her conviction in opposing child beauty pageants taking place in Ireland Senator van Turnhout said “I believe that childhood is a time-specific and unique period in a person’s development and that the participation, for financial gain by others, in a competition by minors, judged on attractiveness and physical attributes rather than any sort of discernible skill, is hugely problematic and contrary to protecting childhood.”
The Motion, which has received unanimous support from all Senators across all political groupings in the Seanad, recognises the difficulties and pressures faced by children and parents with increasingly sexualised media imagery and popular culture. It acknowledges efforts already being made to protect childhoods in Ireland against sexualisation and undue gender stereotyping and asks all stakeholders to do more.
Senator van Turnhout explains “this Motion is a call to action not only to our colleagues in Dáil Éireann, but also to Civil Society Organisations dealing with children, young people and parents, parents themselves and society at large. We need to send a clear and unified message that there is no place in Ireland for child beauty pageants.”
Notes for the Editor:· Full text of Motion attached.
· The Independent Group (Taoiseach’s Nominees) are Senators Jillian van Turnhout (Leader), Fiach Mac Conghail, Mary Ann O’Brien, Marie Louise O’Donnell, and Katherine Zappone.
· The Motion is seconded by Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell.
· The debate takes place on Wednesday 5 March 2014 at 17:30-19:30 in the Seanad. It will be broadcast live on UPC Channel 207 and is available online at http://www.oireachtas.ie/
For More Information, Please Contact:
Senator Jillian van Turnhout
Leader of the Independent Group (Taoiseach’s Nominees)
Private Members Motion
Condemning the Holding of Child Beauty Pageants in Ireland
5 March 2014
“That Seanad Éireann:
· Recognises that childhood, as a time-specific and unique period in a person’s development, is a distinct space from adulthood.
· Appreciates the difficulties and pressures faced by children and parents as the distinct space between childhood and adulthood becomes increasingly blurred through media, advertising and popular culture.
· Believes that every effort must be made to protect children and childhood against sexualisation and undue gender stereotyping.
· Echoes the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD’s endorsement of Responsible Retailing: Retail Ireland Childrenswear Guidelines (June 2012) and her statement that “[t]he preparation of these guidelines is yet another example of how working together we can, as a State and society, help to foster a culture where childhood is preserved and children are protected”.
· Commends An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha, The Irish Dancing Commission, for introducing additional rules prohibiting the use of make-up including false eyelashes, tinted moisturiser, or any artificial tanning products for the face for all dancers aged 10 years and under. (Effective 1 March 2014.)
· Believes that the participation, for financial gain, in a competition by minors, judged on attractiveness and physical attributes rather than discernible skill is contrary to the protection of children and preservation of childhood and therefore condemns child beauty pageants in Ireland.
· Further holds that child beauty pageants run contrary to the values set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
· Cognisant of the current economic climate, greatly appreciates the significant decision by each of the hotels approached by Universal Royalty back in September 2013 to decline hosting a child beauty pageant on their premises and welcomes the support of the Irish Hotels Federation in opposing child beauty pageants in Ireland.
· Calls on all stakeholders to be resolute in opposing child beauty pageants in Ireland.
· Calls on all Senators to formally endorse the appeal made by Senator Jillian van Turnhout in Seanad Éireann on 19 September 2013 to send a clear message that child beauty pageants have no place in Ireland.
· Seeks political consensus in its opposition to child beauty pageants across both Houses of the Oireachtas and invites Dáil Éireann to pass a similar Motion.”