Ireland among top ten countries in UNICEF table on children's well-being

Wednesday 10 April 2013 19.40
The league table shows that one in three children in Ireland exercise at least an hour a day
The league table shows that one in three children in Ireland exercise at least an hour a day

A UNICEF league table on the overall well-being of children shows that Ireland ranks tenth out of 29 industrialised countries.

The table also shows that one in three children in Ireland exercise at least an hour a day, the highest of all developed nations.

There has also been a significant fall in the number of children smoking and more modest declines in drinking and teenage pregnancies.

However, when it comes to the number of 15 to 19-year-olds not in education, employment or training, Ireland is at the bottom of the table.

The Netherlands retains its place at the top of the list, followed by Norway and Iceland.

The report card is the result of research carried out between 2001 and 2010.

It shows that while Ireland has a relatively low child poverty rate of 8.5%, it has one of the largest child poverty gaps for those children who do fall below the poverty line.

The research also found that 83% of Irish children find it easy to talk to their mothers, while 68% find it easy to talk to their fathers.

Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland Peter Power said while Ireland had performed well, it is clear many improvements can be made.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Power said the research showed that those countries who do not have huge material wealth, but who focus on children in a real, policy-focused way scored well.

"We've done very well here in that we have a full Cabinet minister dealing with children across all the areas. But the point is that we come tenth, but there is huge scope for improvement," he said.

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