A new online resource, aimed at better informing child care professionals working on the island of Ireland, was launched in Northern Ireland today.

The North South Child Protection Hub is believed to be the first website of its kind here.

Launching the online initiative in Newry, Co Down, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Barry Andrews said the creation of the hub was a stepping stone toward better protecting children north and south of the border.

His Northern Ireland counterpart, Social Services Minister Michael McGimpsey, said the website will mean that those with a professional interest in child protection will have a wide range of material at their fingertips.

The protection hub will pull together information from across the island of Ireland including policy guidelines, court judgments and serious case reviews.

From today, it is available to over 100,000 people in the Republic, including child care workers, educators and even students.

Mr Andrews said the new facility would be updated daily and described it as 'a one-stop shop' of information for those working with children.

He said he hopes further developments will be made in the near future, in particular on the issue of vetting those who work with children.