Introduction of Youth Travel Card follows campaign by young members of Comhairle na nÓg
Young people campaigning efforts praised by Minister O’Gorman and Minister Ryan
Members of Comhairle na nÓg have today welcomed the announcement of the Youth Travel Card, following their successful campaign to see the measure introduced.
In 2019, members of Comhairle na nÓg voted in Dáil na nÓg on the topic of sustainable transport solutions. Dáil na nÓg 2019 took place in the Houses of the Oireachtas as part of the celebration of 100 years of the Dáil Éireann.
The National Executive, comprised of one member from each Comhairle, thirty one in all, have been working on this topic with the support of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth & the Department of Transport.
The Executive’s final proposal was a Youth Travel Card providing a 50% discount on all public transport systems for all young people up to the age of 23, which they proposed and presented to Minister Roderic O'Gorman and Minister Eamon Ryan on 8th July 2021.
This proposal was this week accepted and announced by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, during the budget announcement.
The National Executive have continued to progress their work topics via online platforms since January 2020. They have met with decision-makers and topic experts, surveyed their members and workshopped ideas.
Welcoming the announcement, members of the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive said:
Molly Beckett, aged 16, Roscommon –
“We can now say to our friends that their transport costs have been halved and we had a part to play in it..." “In the past, there was a belief that young people should be seen and not heard. We hope this will empower young people all over the country and make them believe that they can achieve things, if they work for it”
Racheal Diyaolu, aged 18, Carlow –
“Young people just want to be able to get to school or college, or go to their job and have a good life. My friend had been complaining about the cost of public transport and how expensive it was for them to travel anywhere. Now I can go back to them and say their costs are cut in half! It will make such a huge difference in our lives, it will give us so much more independence and freedom.”
Siofra McElduff, aged 15, Sligo –
“We are so grateful to have our hard work recognised. Thanks to Minister Roderic O'Gorman for really advocating for us, his support meant so much.”
Jack Cassidy, aged 17, Louth –
“It’s obvious that the Government does care and is actually looking out for young people. With all the focus on doom and gloom at the minute, this is a message that the Government is trying to do their best for young people and their future. This is a huge step forward in the right direction for climate action!"
Speaking shortly after the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I want to congratulate the National Executive of Comhairle na nÓg for their incredible work on this project. Their continued hard work, tenacity and passion will improve the lives of all Young People across Ireland. The tireless work of the National Executive was a key component of making this proposal a reality, and demonstrates the importance of young people participating in the policy process”
Commenting, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said:
“I’m delighted that we were able to take action on what was a great proposal from Comhairle na nÓg. By making public transport cheaper for young people, we’re hoping to build a habit of a lifetime, that will cut our emissions and help them get where they need to go in an affordable way.”
Notes to Editor:
Comhairle na nÓg:
Comhairle na nÓg (Youth Councils) gives children and young people a voice in decision-making with regard to the development of local services and policies. They are recognised as the national structures for participation of children and young people in decision-making in all 31 local authorities.
Comhairle na nÓg allows young people’s voices to be heard in two ways; by working on topics of importance to young people and acting as a consultative forum for adult decision-makers at a local level.
National Executive of Comhairle na nÓg:
The Comhairle na nÓg National Executive is made up of 31 representatives – one from each of the Comhairlí na nÓg from all over the country. The 31 members of the National Executive are facilitated and supported by the DCEDIY, and a Participation Team from Youth Work Ireland and Foróige who ensure that they get the opportunity to engage with appropriate Ministers, policy-makers, Oireachtas Committees and other decision-makers.
The National Executive has a term of office of two years and meets once a month with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and the Participation Team in Dublin to progress their topic. The focus of the work for the National Executive comes from Dáil na nÓg.
Dáil na nÓg:
Dáil na nÓg is a biennial event which brings together approximately 200 young people aged 12-18 from the 31 Comhairle na nÓg, who are elected as delegates to Dáil na nÓg. The Department for Children and Youth Affairs funds and oversees Comhairle na nÓg and Dáil na nÓg.
The purpose of Dáil na nÓg is to provide a forum where young people can raise and debate issues of concern to them and influence the development of public policy. Dáil na nÓg is a practical expression of the Government’s stated commitment to implementing Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child through the National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making, 2015-2020, giving children and young people a voice in decision-making.
Dáil na nÓg delegates are nominated by each of the 31 Comhairle na nÓg in each Local Authority in the country. At each Dáil na nÓg, delegates vote on the topic that the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive will work on over the coming term.
Dáil na nÓg 2019 took place in the Houses of the Oireachtas as part of the celebration of 100 years of the Dáil Éireann.