Today, Dáil na nÓg voted for more climate conscious transport solutions as the number one area for action.
168 delegates, aged between 12-17 were elected from each of the 31 Comhairle na Óg all around Ireland to attend a very special Dáil na nÓg in Leinster House as part of the Dáíl 100 celebrations.
Young people gathered at Kildare Street in anticipation of the day. Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl began the proceedings with a tree planting ceremony with young people from the National Executive Steering Committee and delegates who spoke later in the day.
Groups were ushered to the Oireachtas Chamber for a memorable opening ceremony. Former and incoming Comhairle na nÓg National Executive Members Caoilfhinn Ní Choiligh Rhys Scully and Beth Doherty provided updates of their Comhairle’s achievements and their input on Climate Change to their peers.
Young people present on the day enjoyed guided tours of the Oireachtas, noting the importance of their voice being heard where the leaders of Ireland speak. There was an excitement in the air as delegates voted on the specific theme of Climate Change that their National Executive will work on for the next two years.
One young person from each Comhairle is elected to the National Executive of Dáil na nÓg for a term of two years. The incoming 2017 - 2019 National Executive will work on the topic of ‘Climate Change’ as they have been mandated by their peers at today’s vote. The incoming National Executive will work directly with and be supported by officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to implement the changes recommended by young people.
Caoimhe Wall chaired the closing ceremony with Comhairle na nÓg members Luke Chambers and Sinéad Whelan providing inputs on climate change.
Dr Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, closed the ceremony by outlining the importance of Climate Change and praised the delegates for taking on such an important issue.
In her closing speech she noted:
“I am sure that everyone here today recognises that climate change is among the greatest challenges facing us today and our decisions in this area will define our society for decades to come. Young people in Ireland and across the world have already shown that they are deeply committed to engaging in climate action. I am so delighted that Comhairle na nÓg has committed to take on climate change as their topic for the next two years.”
Notes to the Editor:
Images issued earlier today by Maxwells Photography.
Comhairle na nÓg
are child and youth councils in the 31 local authority areas of the country, which give children and young people a voice in the development of local services and policies. They are the recognised national structure for participation by children and young people in local decision-making, supported by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).
The Comhairle na nÓg enables young people’s voices to be heard in two ways: working on topics of importance to young people; and acting as a consultative forum for adult decision-makers in the locality.
Comhairle na nÓg are supported by the DCYA Comhairle na nÓg Development Fund. Local authorities also provide funding and resources for Comhairle na nÓg, as well as other organisations at local level. The DCYA also funds three regional Participation Officers, who provide advice, resources and training to all 31 Comhairle na nÓg Co-ordinators.
Dáil na nÓg
Dáil na nÓg is the national parliament for young people aged 12-17 years. The DCYA funds and oversees Dáil na nÓg, which is hosted biennially by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Successive independent evaluations note that Dáil na nÓg has gone from strength to strength, with more challenging and contentious debates. Dáil na nÓg is an initiative of the DCYA. Foróige and Youth Work Ireland are contracted to organise Dáil na nÓg in co-operation with the DCYA.
Comhairle na nÓg National Executive
One representative from each Comhairle na nÓg is elected to the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive (formerly the Dáil na nÓg Council), which follows up on the recommendations from the Dáil and tries to make changes for young people in those areas.
The National Executive, which has a term of office of two years, meets once a month and is facilitated and supported by the DCYA, who ensure that they get the opportunity to engage with appropriate Ministers, policy-makers, Oireachtas Committees and other decision-makers to:
identify key areas of work from the top three recommendations agreed at Dáil na nÓg
conduct research into the issues identified
meet with relevant Ministers, TDs, government officials, policy makers and other stakeholders to seek their support in making changes for young people on the issues identified
feed back to their Comhairle na nÓg on the work of the Council
represent Comhairle na nÓg at conferences and other events