Children's charity Barnardos is launching its new Lost Childhood campaign

Barnardos wants €250 million to be spent on essential public services, to help the children it says are being left behind.

The charity says one in seven children is lost to homelessness, poverty and neglect.

It is today launching its 'Lost Childhood' campaign, which is calling on individuals, organisations and the Government to prioritise the injustices facing tens of thousands of children.

Barnardos is calling for a number of measures to be introduced - such as a dedicated child and family public health nurse system, free school books for all primary school children, and an extra year of free pre-school for all young children.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, parent Claire Cahill said her son had to wait over 15 months for scoliosis surgery - during which his condition worsened dramatically.

She observed: "I recognise that it's not just about scoliosis - it's about every issue that affects our children's rights.

"Since Darragh's illness and since his wait for surgery, it has opened my eyes to the different injustices that are happening to our children."