Comhairle na nÓg The national parliament for young people
Friday, 27th November 2015 in Croke Park, Dublin

Press Area

Dáil na nÓg calls for ‘Equality’ in schools. Croke Park, Dublin

Wednesday 6th December 2017

Achieving equality and fairness in schools is the top priority for young people according to a vote at today’s Dáil na nÓg, the country’s national youth parliament.

Some 200 delegates, aged 12-17, were elected to attend today’s Dáil na nÓg event in Croke Park and represent the young people involved in 31 Comhairle na nÓg youth councils across the country.

They spent the day at the national youth parliament discussing the theme of ‘Equality’: In All Fairness…’  in their everyday lives under five topic headings: school; home/community; online activity; public services and sport/leisure.

David Stanton T,D., Minister of State at the Department of Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, was present for the outcome of the results of their vote. Also in attendance were senior officials and representatives in the area of equality.

Delegates voted that ‘Equality in schools’ is to be the top priority of the representative body of Comhairle na nÓg nationally – its National Executive. The areas identified for change by the young people included gender equality, religious equality in schools, subject choice, uniform policy, school facilities and teacher student relationships.

One young person from each Comhairle is elected to the National Executive for a term of two years. The incoming 2017 – 2019 National Executive will work on the topic of ‘School’ as they have mandated by their peers at today’s vote.

They will work directly with and be supported by officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Justice and Equality to implement the changes recommended by the young people.

Opening the event, Dr Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs outlined some significant changes ahead for the national youth parliament.

She said: ‘Once again, we have a Minister attending Dáil na nÓg who has direct policy responsibility for the key topic being discussed.  With his assistance, and the support of his Department over the next two years, we hope to ensure that young people are meaningfully enabled to have a stronger voice and understanding of equality in their everyday lives.’

“This is the part of the mechanism to support Comhairle na nÓg with Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 – 2020. This is a significant change in the way that decisions made by young people at Dáil na nÓg will be progressed and it recognises the importance of listening to young people and acting on what they say.”

The day culminated in a Questions and Answers session, which was chaired by Dr. Fergal Lynch, Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, during which delegates sought answers from David Stanton T,D., Minister of State at the Department of Justice and senior policy makers on the issues discussed during the day:

 

Panel of experts:

•    David Stanton T,D., Minister of State at the Department of Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration,

•    Dr Carol Baxter, Assistant Secretary, Head of Asylum Services, Integration and Equality, Department of Justice and Equality,

•    Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance,

•    Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children

 

Friday, 27 November 2015
Croke Park, Dublin

Dáil na nÓg calls for second level students to be given a stronger voice in what happens in the classroom

Second level students need a stronger voice in what happens in the classroom, according to a vote at today’s Dáil na nÓg, the country’s national youth parliament.

Some 200 delegates, aged 12-17, were elected to attend today’s Dáil na nÓg event in Croke Park and represent the 5,500 young people involved in the 31 Comhairle na nÓg youth councils across the country.

They spent the day at the national youth parliament discussing the need for young people to have a stronger voice in their education and schools under four key themes; Subject Choice, Transition Year, What Happens in the Classroom, and Uniforms and Personal Appearance.

Jan O’Sullivan T.D., Minister for Education and Skills was present for the result of the vote, as well as senior education officials.

Delegates voted that getting a stronger voice for students in ‘What Happens in the Classroom’ is to be the top priority of the representative body of Comhairle na nÓg nationally – its National Executive.

One young person from each Comhairle is elected to the National Executive for a term of two years. The incoming 2016 – 2017 National Executive will work on the topic of ‘What happens in the classroom’ in education and schools as they have been mandated by their peers at today’s vote.

They will work directly with and be supported by officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education and Skills to implement the changes recommended by the young people.

Opening the event, Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs outlined some significant changes ahead for the national youth parliament.

He said: “For the first time, we have a Minister attending Dáil na nÓg who has direct responsibility for the topic being discussed and I am pleased to announce that from this year onwards, whatever Department is responsible for the topic under discussion in future sessions of Dáil na nÓg will have the Minister in attendance and will support the work of the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive.

“This is the part of the mechanism to support Comhairle na nÓg with Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 – 2020. This is a significant change in the way that decisions made by young people at Dáil na nÓg will be progressed and it recognises the importance of listening to young people and acting on what they say.”

The day culminated in a Questions and Answers session, which was chaired by Bernie McNally, Assistant Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, during which delegates sought answers from Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister of Education and Skills and senior policy makers on the issues discussed during the day:

Panel of experts:
•       Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills
•       Dr. Alan Wall, Assistant Secretary, Department of Education and Skills
•       Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals
•       Dr. Domhall Fleming, Senior Inspector, Department of Education and Skills

 

 

Friday, 15th November 2013
Croke Park, Dublin

DÁIL NA NÓG CALLS FOR NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH GATHERING FOR SECOND LEVEL STUDENTS

200 delegates, aged 12-17, today took part in Dáil na nÓg 2013 and voted as their top recommendation the need for a national mental health gathering for second level students, with music and events to improve attitudes towards mental health.

The young delegates spent the day discussing all aspects of mental health including topics such as Leaving Cert reform, exam pressure, bullying, cyber bullying, peer pressure, sex education, abuse of drugs and alcohol and other issues.

From 20 recommendations, they took part in three rounds of voting to reach a final conclusion.

This top recommendation will be followed up over the next two years by the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive and they will work with the relevant Government departments and agencies to make this recommendation a reality. The Executive is comprised of one young person from each of the 34 Comhairle na nÓg.

Opening the event, Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said: “Mental health is an issue of acute concern to young people throughout Ireland, which is why you chose it as the topic for discussion at Dáil na nÓg today.”

The Minister went on to say: “I am constantly impressed by the openness with which so many young people talk about mental health and the adult world has much to learn from this approach. I know that many of you are focussing on this issue through initiatives on mental health in your local Comhairle na nÓg”.

“Tackling youth mental health issues is complex and challenging but we do need to address it.  Indeed, one of the reasons for the existence of my Department is ensure a whole-of-government approach to important child and youth issues such as mental health. The mental health area already has a very committed champion in Minister Kathleen Lynch and I wish to acknowledge her work. I recently co-founded the first ever Cross Party Group on Mental Health and I work closely with Amnesty International to help break down the stigmas associated with mental health issues. I have also met Facebook to discuss the issue of Cyber Bullying and I made representations to the Latvian authorities in relation to concerns over ask.fm,” noted the Minister.

Minister Fitzgerald stated: “Today however, I am delighted to hand the discussion on youth mental health over to you. You know best the concerns, issues and worries that are experienced by yourselves and other young people. The Open Space method being used today allows you to set the agenda for the discussion and to make a strong recommendation for action to direct the work of the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive over the next two years”.

Minister Fitzgerald also launched the new Comhairle na nÓg website (www.comhairlenanog.ie), which has improved social media functions to strengthen the appeal of the site to young people and promote the work of the 34 local Comhairle na nÓg.

The Questions and Answers session was chaired by Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, during which delegates sought answers from senior policy makers on the issues discussed during the day:

  • Dr. Tony Bates, Director, Headstrong
  • Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and  Deputy Principals (NAPD)
  • Elaine Geraghty, CEO, ReachOut.com, Inspire Ireland Foundation
  • Stephen Mulvany, National Director of Mental Health, HSE
  • Gerry Raleigh, Director, National Office for Suicide Prevention

For more information, please contact the Department of Children and Youth Affairs Press Office.

Tel: +353 1 647-3019/3130/3075
E-mail: mediadcya@dcya.gov.ie