A notice about cookies

This website uses cookies. Some cookies may have been set already. To find out more about our use of cookies you can visit our Privacy policy. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.


This is a prototype - your feedback will help us to improve it.

Press Release

Minister Zappone appoints six new members from the children and youth sector to the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures National Advisory Council and the nomination of two vice chairs in the areas of early years and youth

Published: 4 February 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, today announced the recent appointment of six new members to the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures National Advisory Council and welcomed the appointment of two vice chairs to the Council in the area of early years and the youth sector.

Ms Aideen Howard, The Ark, Ms Catherine Cosgrave, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Ms Catherine Maher (formerly Focus Ireland), Mr John Church, Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Ms Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos and Ms Olivia McEvoy, Ernest and Young were recently appointed to the National Advisory Council as experts in their respective fields relating to children and young people. Additionally, two members of the Advisory Council, Ms Teresa Heeney, Early Childhood Ireland and Ms Mary Cunningham, National Youth Council of Ireland were appointed as Vice Chairs representing the early years and youth sectors.

The National Advisory Council harnesses expertise and experience from the community and voluntary sector, from academia and from independent experts and individuals who have specific expertise in working with and for children and young people. The Advisory Council brings into one forum a diverse range of interests from sectorial stakeholders in the domains of children and young people’s policy and provision. These sectors connect with and mobilise communities, families and individuals, and as such are seen as essential groups in the implementation infrastructure seeking to ensure the achievement of the five national outcomes for children and young people.

Minister Zappone stated:

“I very much welcome the appointments of Aideen Howard, Catherine Cosgrave, Catherine Maher, John Church, Suzanne Connolly and Olivia McEvoy to the National Advisory Council and I know that their enthusiasm and expert knowledge will lend a fresh perspective to the work of the Council going into phase two of the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures."
"I am equally delighted to announce the nomination of Teresa Heeney and Mary Cunningham for undertaking the additional role of Vice Chairs representing the early years and youth sectors."
"I look forward to working closely with the National Advisory Council in 2019 on matters such as child poverty, prevention and early intervention, child homelessness, learning and development and children’s rights and equality. The Council also has a very important role to play in supporting the implementation of the recently published ‘First Five: Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families’ and I welcome the Council’s focus on this important piece of work."

Tanya Ward, Chair of the National Advisory Council and CEO of the Children’s Right Alliance added:

"The Minister has made a series of excellent new appointments that will build the experience and knowledge of the National Advisory Council as it moves into the second phase of its life and the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures."
"I’m also delighted that the Minister has appointed, Mary Cunningham, CEO of National Youth Council of Ireland, and Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, as Vice Chairs of the Council in recognition of the importance of youth and early years in the cross-government policy landscape."


Notes to the Editor:

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures represents the first overarching national children’s policy framework covering the age range spanning children and young people 0–24 years. It adopts a whole-of-Government approach and is underpinned by a number of constituent strategies in the areas of early years, youth and participation.

A key focus of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures is on effective implementation to ensure accountability, drive implementation and provide a forum for stakeholder engagement. This is addressed through the establishment of an efficient and effective infrastructure that is outcomes-focused, while having appropriate regard for establishing enabling processes for engagement.

These structures consolidate many of the existing consultative bodies and interdepartmental processes within the Department of Children and Youth Affairs into the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium, the Sponsors mechanisms and the Advisory Council.

Allied to this is a greater alignment and redevelopment of the existing groupings: the Children and Young People’s Services Committees National Steering Group, the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive and the EU Structured Dialogue Working Group.

The Advisory Council provides a platform for the community and voluntary sector to engage with the Children and Young People’s Policy Consortium and its constituent elements to actively inform and support the implementation of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. The Council consists of four constituent groupings (see below):

The first three groups have representation drawn from the Early Years, Children and Youth voluntary sectoral pillars. Nominations are drawn from umbrella organisations representing each of these constituencies.

In addition, the first three groups are supplemented by the appointment of a Ministerial nominee to each, bringing the total to four nominees per constituent grouping.

The fourth group comprises four Ministerial nominees who are key individuals with experience and expertise in themes and trends impacting on the lives of children and young people.

Part of