Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Alastair Christie
East Asian Social Policy Research Network/UK Social Policy Association Conference
Reproduction of ‘Race’ and Whiteness in Irish Child Care Policies
University of York, UK
Invited Lectures (Conference)
Optional Fields

Since the mid-1990s, Ireland has been described in government policies as a ‘multicultural society’. This is partly in response to the significant number of migrants who have recently come to live in a country that has traditionally viewed itself in monocultural terms and as a country of emigration. This representation of Ireland as a multicultural society, is evident in a wide range government polices including child care, with specific groups often racialised as ‘different’. For example, in the National Children’s Strategy states children from minority ethnic communities have ‘special needs’ that should be met. However, as yet, these ‘special needs’ identified with those seen as culturally ‘different’ have largely remained unnamed and unrecognised.  In 2008, the Irish government published three reports that reviewed Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children. This article analyses how black and minority ethnic groups are represented in the national guidelines and the three review reports, and argues that the inclusion and exclusion of statements on multiculturalism and ethnicity, re-centre the dominance of white Irishness as the universal norm against which all child care practices are judged. The article raises questions about the absence and presence of ‘race’ within child protection policies in Ireland and the consequences for developing anti-racist practices.