Comhairle na nÓg 31 youth councils across the country
giving young people a voice on local services & policies

National Executive meetings and presentations 2019

Meeting with Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone 
30th May 2019, Leinster House








Seven members of the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive were recently invited to meet with Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone to update her on the progress of their work to date. Presenters on the day were Ross, Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown, Luana, Fingal; Scot, Leitrim and Cormac, Cavan presented. Jiang, Cork City; Dylan, Kilkenny and Michael, Roscommon accompanied and were part of the discussions post-presentation.

You can download and read their presentation here: NE Presentation to Minister Zappone 30.05.2019

The young people had a number of ‘asks’ of Minister Zappone on the day. They are as follows:

In relation to Student Voice:

  • To support them in their Student Voice topic and in the rolling out of the Guidelines Toolkit.
  • To ask her colleagues in the Dept of Education and Skills to take on the Guidelines and to make sure they are implemented in schools nationwide.
  • To encourage her Education colleagues to take ownership of the Toolkit, making sure that the guidelines have long-term sustainability and become embedded in schools, to continue long after their term finishes in late 2019

In relation to the Individuality campaign

  • To ask for her support by becoming an Ambassador for the campaign.
  • To be the public face of the #TeachMeAsMe campaign
  • To help them to promote it on social media & to gain good publicity


Minister’s response in relation to the ask on Student Voice:

  • Great to see young people challenging the system, but in a systematic way. By doing it with the support of the state, there will be greater chance of success.
  • She is a huge believer in the value of real Student Voice for education. She stated that ‘schools need to create the space for the voice of the young people that they are teaching’ and she would be happy to champion any changes to make this happen
  • Upon further progression of the Toolkit, she will look to set up a bi-lateral meeting between her department, National Executive members and the Minister for Education and Skills to talk it through more and to come up with a plan to progress it further. Likely in late August / September.

Minister’s response in relation to our ask on Individuality campaign:

  • She was ‘in favour of the revolution’ and thought the campaign was ‘very cool’. She also loved the hashtag
  • Acknowledgment that the dynamic between the students who submit videos and the teachers in schools may not always be smooth throughout the campaign but hopes that open conversations between both sides will keep channels of communication open.
  • The Minister was asked ‘how would you approach this in a school?’ She advised us to start having conversations at first with our peers about what changes we’d like to see happen in our school. She then suggested setting up a meeting with a key teacher or principal and a small group of students where they lay out some of their key ‘asks’. She emphasised the importance of having a CLEAR RATIONALE for why you want these changes, saying that ‘it’s difficult to walk away when logic is strong’
  • She suggested getting some other young celebs on side also to promote the campaign – important to have young faces prominent