Abstract“Shut up and eat your dinner!” Given that I grew up in an era in which it was considered that children should be seen and not heard the preceding demands were not at all unusual and regularly demanded at our family dinner table. In the not-so-distant past children were viewed as empty vessels in need of being filled with knowledge and “manners”. Their role was not to question but to accept the guidance, wisdom and discipline of knowing adults. Our view of childhood, however, has evolved. Today we recognise that children play an active role in their own lives and development. Instead of viewing children as human becomings we recognise them as human beings, as citizens, and like all citizens, children hold rights. In 1992 Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Amongst other rights, this treaty affords children the right to be heard. ...
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