The Children's Rights Alliance, which is supported by close to 100 rights-based and young people's organisations, has launched its annual assessment of the Government's performance of upholding children’s rights.

The alliance's Report Card 2017 gave the Government's performance an overall D+ grade.

The alliance says this year’s result is the poorest in six years. It is particularly worried about the limited availability of round-the-clock services for children who are sexually abused with only one unit in Ireland to respond to those needs.

The report also finds certain groups of children are being left behind, including Travellers and Roma children, child refugees and asylum seekers, and children who are homeless.

The report does acknowledge progress in pre-school care for three and four year olds and in universal access to GP care for under six year olds.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward said: "While there has been progress in a number of areas, overall this is the lowest grade in six years. This needs to change.
 
"In 2016 we have seen significant progress, with advances including the Affordable Childcare Scheme, LGBT+ Strategy, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill and paid Paternity Leave having the potential to impact positively on a significant number of children's lives.
 
"However, unnecessary delays in other areas have caused this low grade. Progress of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill has been stalled.

"Recommendations from the McMahon report are yet to be put into action, leaving girls and boys in Direct Provision without their basic needs met."