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Seanad motion to stress "there is no place in Ireland for child beauty pageants"

The motion aims to ‘protect childhood from sexualisation’ and oppose further pageants in Ireland.

A 'Mini Miss' model beauty contest in Paris last year.
A 'Mini Miss' model beauty contest in Paris last year.
Image: Thibault Camus/AP/Press Association Images

A MOTION TO condemn child beauty pageants will be heard in the Seanad later this evening.

Proposed by the Independent Group of Senators, it aims to highlight that the events have ‘no place in Ireland’

Senator Jillian van Turnhout has called it a “call to action” for the Dáil and civil organisations dealing with children.

“I believe that childhood is a time-specific and unique period in a person’s development and that the participation,” she said, “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 outlines that “every effort must be made” to protect children against sexualisation.

It also recommends that the Irish Dancing Commission introduces rules banning a wide-range of make-up and artifical tanning products.

It also calls on “all stakeholders to be resolute in opposing child beauty pageants in Ireland”.

The motion in full:

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.

Read: There’s a Facebook campaign against the child beauty pageants’ return to Ireland >

Previously: Child beauty pageant organiser plans second Irish contest >

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Nicky Ryan

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