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'Ireland lost one of our greatest champions of children': Tributes paid to advocate Norah Gibbons

Gibbons was involved in several projects to protect the rights of children and vulnerable groups.

Image: Leah Farrell

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to children’s rights activist and the first chair of the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, Norah Gibbons. 

Gibbons was a notable figure within the area of children’s rights in Ireland holding posts including director of advocacy at children’s charity Barnardos, along with her role as a member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. 

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has led the tributes this morning describing her as an “exceptional woman”. 

“Norah was an exceptional woman who brought her innate judgment, common sense and humanity to everything she did,” he said. 

“She made a major contribution in her work as a member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and other bodies addressing the horror of historic child abuse, both in this State and in Northern Ireland.”

Gibbons was chair of Tusla between 2014 and 2018 and prior to this she was a member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse between 2000 and 2009. 

She was also involved in the independent study on familicide and domestic homicide, and Flanagan noted “she was keen to ensure that this important work would be completed and I was glad to be able to give her that assurance”.

A number of other public figures and organisations across Ireland have come out to acknowledge her contribution to the rights of children and vulnerable groups in Ireland. 

“Yesterday, Ireland lost one of our greatest Champions of Children. I am so deeply saddened by the passing of Norah Gibbons,” Childrens Minister Katherine Zappone said. 

Meanwhile, Women’s Aid also paid tribute to Gibbons, describing her as an “inspiring woman”. 

“RIP Norah Gibbons. An inspiring woman, so dedicated to social justice and the care, protection, and prevention of cruelty toward the most vulnerable. She will be sadly missed.

“Our deepest condolences to all Norah’s family and friends at this very difficult time.” 

She died from an illnesss and is survived by her husband Sean, and her son Miles and daughter Maireas.

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