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Donegal Comhairle na nÓg

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Donegal Comhairle na nÓg will be working on three main topics this year:
• Mental Health
• Climate Action
• Social Media/Body Image



Cyber safety Video:
Members of the Donegal Comhairle, along with Foroige and Donegal Youth Service worked together to create three adverts in relation to cyber safety. This was tasked by the Donegal Joint Policing Committee (JPC) and funded by Healthy Ireland. Young people came together in August to discuss ideas for the video. The young people brainstormed, planned, scripted, produced, directed and starred in three Cyber Awareness Adverts. The young people came up with a clear message at the beginning, “All that Glitters is not Gold” thus implying that everything is not as it appears to be. The young people got behind the camera, in front of the camera, in the director’s chair and were in charge of sound throughout the production with the kind help of the video production team.

Donegal Comhairle na nÓg worked on the following topics in 2021:

  • Mental Health
  • Social Media and Body Image
  • Climate Action

Key Actions:

Mental Health – To have a critical role in the development of the new CYPSC plan and be the voice of young people across Donegal to share their views and opinions at committee meetings. To play an advocacy role in promoting the services that are available to young people.







Mind Your Melon:
Comhairle members, along with members from Donegal Jigsaw, were invited to be consultants and influencers in a new youth mental health initiative by Connect Mental Health called ‘Mind Your Melon’. It aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and signposting of key services to young people in the county. Young people are encouraged to visit and explore themed stages on an interactive map of Donegal, with stages at iconic locations around the county.

The online festival features inspiring talks, engaging demonstrations and information about mental health supports and services for young people. Featured content includes inspirational talks from Nikki Bradley (Adaptive adventurer and motivational speaker), Jason Black (Global Endurance Athlete – Irish Red Cross Global Ambassador), Dr Easkey Britton (surfer, scientist, explorer) demonstrations by Ryan McHugh (Donegal GAA Player) and Finn van der Aar (marine scientist, writer and chef), tips and advice on supporting your mental health by Jigsaw Donegal and much more.

Social Media and Body Image – To provide training for Comhairle members. To develop a programme of work on this topic

Climate Action – Research and gain an understanding of the issue. Provide training for Comhairle members. To link in with other groups and collaborate together. To consult with groups with a similar focus.



Donegal Comhairle members have made a film about the effects and impact alcohol can have on young people

Here’s what the young people had to say… “This video displayed the effects of alcohol within young people and not being able to connect the emotions with feelings. Our journey started from scratch making this video. We wanted to create visual imagery that would capture the effects of alcohol use within young people and the effects that follow.
This was completed by storyboarding our ideas, to scripting and filming and getting the end result. Through the process we did not have to use our imagination as these are situations that are happening on a daily basis and can quickly escalate.
There are hidden messages throughout the video that you will have to watch more than once to grasp. We hope that this shows the impact of not being able to control and understand emotions and as a result act in a certain way to help numb the feelings….”


School Bus Seat Belt initiative launched by Donegal Comhairle na nÓg

Donegal Comhairle members have been working closely with the Donegal Road Safety Working Group to promote road safety. They have been involved in scripting and recording road safety adverts which have aired on Highland Radio, focusing on speed, the use of mobile phones when driving, planning a safe way home, and driving while under the influence of drugs – the first radio advert of its kind in Ireland. Comhairle members have also played a significant role in the “Live to Play Campaign” in association with the Road Safety Working Group and Ulster GAA, the promotion of the annual Road Safety Road Show for Post Primary Schools in Donegal, and the “Keep the Race in its Place Campaign” for the Donegal Rally..

Donegal Comhairle, along with the Donegal Road Safety Working Group, have launched a campaign to inform students and parents on the importance of wearing seatbelts on school buses. The young group have designed Belt Up stickers which will be displayed on school buses outlining a step by step process for school children to wear their seatbelt on buses safely and securely. All school buses are fitted with seat belts, but it is vital to continue to encourage students to wear these at all times. As there are multiple journeys made by school pupils through the School Transport system annually, safety should remain the absolute priority for all bus companies. The Donegal Youth Council have combined their efforts to make sure the safety messages are displayed in a manner that is easy for everyone, of all ages, travelling on buses to understand. A number of local bus companies have offered to display the belt up stickers and a pilot scheme has been launched as schools get ready to return with McGettigan Travel, Letterkenny.

Brian O’Donnell, Road safety Officer said “This campaign is not just about school children. It is vital that parents, guardians and teachers get on board to highlight the importance of road safety. They play a major role in conveying the message that it is normal to reach for your seat belt once you get on the bus. The seatbelt initiative that is being launched will give an important reinforcement of the messages that parents provide to their children, about wearing seat belts. Together schools and parents will make wearing seatbelts a normal part of travelling for children, and will establish lifelong safety routines.”

Meet Éadaoin, the first young adult representative to take a seat on CYPSC Donegal

Despite her young age, Éadaoin brings a wealth of experience gained from her involvement in Donegal Youth Council Donegal Youth Voices, Foróige Reference Panel, Foroige National Council and Foroige Financial Subcommittee. Éadaoin has also been a member of the Jigsaw National Advisory Panel, the School Council and the National School council with Irish Second-Level Students’ Union – ISSU. Éadaoin was also part of the Donegal Youth Council group who worked on the design, content and piloting of the CYPSC Young Peoples Survey to inform the new Children & Young People Plan 2021-2023.


Adapting in a time of lockdown

Photographs taken by Comhairle members are being uploaded to Facebook and Instagram to show people the beauty Donegal has to offer “As society has restricted movement to follow the HSE guidelines to tackle Covid_19, the Donegal Comhairle members want to show the world what Donegal has to offer. This is a reminder that Donegal will always be there and that we welcome the day that visitors can return.”

Other things they’ve been doing:

  • Step challenge over a 2 week period – competition to do the most steps over two weeks
  • Walk and talk – using Google hangouts – young people go for a walk and chat online
  • Exercise and Mental Health – Doing a photography challenge within their 2 km, a posting these to social media


Current topics:

Donegal Comhairle na nÓg were focused on three key areas of work in 2020:

1. Drugs and Alcohol
2. Sexual Health
3. Mental Health

Donegal Comhairle na nÓg also sit on the Donegal Road Safety Working group steering committee and have been heavily involved in various projects such as:
– Live to play campaign,
– Your life, your choice,
– Road safety road show
– Road safety launch for the Donegal Rally “keep the race in its place”
– Stop the Bus campaign

Comhairle members have scripted and recorded a number of radio adverts which have been aired on highland radio. Those completed to date are as follows:
– drink driving
– wearing your high-vis jacket
– mobile phone use
– drug driving
– seat belt safety
– overloading

You can listen to the adverts here:



Donegal Youth Council win Community Safety Award at the Donegal Divisional Garda Youth Awards

The Garda Youth awards celebrate outstanding young people between the ages of 13 and 21 years. The awards recognise the good work being done by young people in every community in Donegal.

In October Donegal Comhairle Members attended the Connecting for Life seminar in Donegal town where they launched their video called “What’s your relationship with Alcohol”. This video displayed the effects of alcohol within young people and not being able to connect the emotions with feelings. They wanted to create visual imagery that would capture the effects of alcohol use within young people and the effects that follow. Comhairle members were responsible for all aspects of the video, from story-boarding ideas, to scripting and filming and to the end result.

Comhairle members felt passionately about this issue and wanted to create an awareness of the effects of alcohol as they feel there has been a rise in the use of alcohol within young people. Members spoke with different services, project workers and agencies to gain more knowledge to produce a message that young people can relate to.


PRESS: 18th September 2019
Donegal Youth Councillors get behind the HSE’s HPV vaccination programme for all first year secondary school students


On Tuesday, August 27th the HSE launched the 2019/20 schools HPV vaccine programme. The HPV vaccine is now being given to all first year students in secondary school, including girls and, for the first time, boys.

HPV is a virus that can cause cervical cancer, and other cancers in both women and men. The HPV vaccine will protect young people from HPV related cancers when they grow up. The uptake of the HPV vaccine has a participation rate of approximately 70%, which is an increase of 20% points since 2017.

Back in 2008, the Donegal Youth Council of the time campaigned for the roll-out of the HPV Vaccination for girls. The current Donegal Youth Council is keen to support this important work by encouraging young people to ‘get the facts’, which is one of the key messages of the HPV campaign. In preparation for this, a sub-group of youth councillors, met with the HSE Area Medical Officer for a briefing on the virus, the importance of the HPV vaccination and the schools programme. The sub-group were able to ask questions so they are well informed.

When asked what messages they took from the session, one Youth Councillor said, “know where your information is coming from and get the facts” while another commented “the vaccine is free and it can change your life.”

The next steps will be for the Youth Council to promote the key messages, to their followers via their instagram and twitter accounts, throughout the roll-out of the school’s programme, and also through discussions with their families and friends. The Donegal Youth Council is one of 31 Comhairle na nÓg’s throughout the country, so their message will be wide-reaching.

The sub group will report back to the wider Youth Council at their next county-wide meeting. However, in the meantime, all youth councillors have received information on the campaign.


Donegal Comhairle are continuing their work on Sexual Health in 2019 but are also looking at the topics of Drugs & Alcohol, and Mental Health. They are working with the drugs and alcohol worker in Foróige to identify gaps in services and the issues surrounding the topic. They will work with local decision makers to build on and improve the level and quality of services available.

On 26th February,  Comhairle members, along with members of the Older People’s Forum and Irish Wheelchair Association participated in Letterkenny: Planning for growth, an interactive consultation workshop about planning for the growth of Letterkenny. 22 people took part and you can read about their findings and recommendations here:  Report of City Planning Meeting

Comhairle members recently participated in a walking audit in their local areas to highlight difficulties and obstructions that the public face on a daily basis. These issues were highlighted with photographs and an evaluation form and will be brought to the local council to resolve these matters. This was part of the Older persons National Convention and the theme was ‘aging together’ which brought the young and old together to give both views on changes that need to be made within society.


At the moment members are also working alongside the RSA (Road Safety Authority). They completed a workshop with Brian O’Donnell and used the virtual reality goggles. They are currently working on a information chart that will go on the back of seats on a bus to encourage users to wear their seat belt. In Donegal town they are trying to get a parking space for people with disabilities outside the post office as there is not one at the moment.

Donegal Comhairle are currently working on the topic of Sexual Health Education. They successfully put this important topic on the map at their recent conference, ‘Beyond the Birds & Bees’, held with support of professionals in this field who presented four workshops on the day alongside two guest speakers.
Four students from each of Donegal’s 27 secondary schools were invited to attend the one day event on March 22nd in the Mount Errigal Hotel, with a total of 121 young people including 24 Comhairle members in attendance.

Sexual Health and Education was voted as a key agenda item for the youth council by 99 young people at the Donegal Youth Council AGM in 2017. You can read more about the event and the impact it had on the young people attending from the media coverage below:

Donegal Comhairle na nÓg have enjoyed a really productive two years, picking up two national awards along the way, including an RSA Leading Lights award for the creation of a series of Road Safety advertisements which were broadcast on regional radio stations.

Recent wins:
The group delivered a road-safety presentation on seatbelts on buses to 200 primary school chıldren. They met with the Stranorlar Municipal District committee and delivered a presentation to them on their journey so far. They had PR training at their local meeting and there are also two Comhairle members on the local CYPSC committee.

Our Comhairle’s core topic for 2017 focused on Sports Recognition for girls and Body Image. The plan for this sports theme involved a roadshow in the five regions in the county.
Aura Letterkenny – 26th April.
Finn Valley Centre Ballybofey – 4th May
Pobail Scoil Gweedore – 10th May
St Catherine’s Vocational School- 12th May
Scoil Mhuire School Buncrana- 15th May

The roadshow started after Easter and offered girls alternative sports experience with a fun element. Our Body Image topic was be incorporated on the day as part of a questionnaire. How the young people answer these questions will determine the approach our Comhairle will take on the subject.

Mental Health: Donegal Comhairle has also been working with Donegal GAA Health & Wellbeing Committee  on their Mental Health Awareness Campaign as part of international World Mental Health day on 10th October 2017.

The 4L’s campaign aims to send out a simple but important message around minding your mental health and that of your family, friends, colleagues and community. All too often in this busy and hectic world we tend to overlook the simple things that can make a difference to minding our mental health.

The 4 Ls message: 
Listen out for our family, friends, neighbours, community and be available to them in a time of need

Look out for each other, the young, and the elderly those who are vulnerable, those living alone, those who are being bullied and those who might be sad

Laughter: laugh at ourselves, laugh with others, life can be serious but your smile could warm up someone’s day.

Link up: stop talking about it and go and do it. Make that link, connection, phone call, text, e mail, card, or better still a visit from you
Our simple message is part of international world mental health day and recommended for everyday use.
Put the 4Ls into practice today and start making a difference to all our mental health.

As part of Mental Health week, Kai Mc hugh with Donegal Youth Council members in conjunction with the GAA visited schools and presented to students. The aim is to raise awareness and highlight the importance of looking after your mental health. The important message to young people is that there is support available and that talking helps to remove the stigma.

We are continuing to work with the Sexual Health Forum and Breakout ( LGBT Group) to raise awareness of the mental & physical aspects of sexual health. We also hold two seats on the ETB Youth Work Committee. CYPSC (Children and Young People’s Services Committee) have had meetings with us and have discussed the consultative role our Comhairle will play in their work.

In November 2015, we were also selected as one of five national winners of the Coca Cola Thank You Fund for our Shake Up Sports Initiative, securing €25,000 to develop the project countywide, encouraging young people to get active by sampling alternative sports.  The Shake Up Sports scheme provides taster sessions for young people interest in alternative sports. For media coverage click here:

We continued our work on the topic of mental health and have linked with key agencies to develop further mental health awareness events in Donegal. We made a video based on the five-a-day for your mental health’ and were also involved in the nationwide Let’s Go Mental campaign in 2015 to promote positive mental health in young people.

In 2015, Donegal Comhairle na nÓg focused our energies on raising awareness of Mental Health issues. In keeping with this, we hosted an event to promote positive mental health in young people on 26th August, as part of the #LetsGoMental2015 campaign: click here for more info on the national campaign. And here is the link to our Let’s Go Mental page

In 2014, Donegal Comhairle na nÓg  received a major European Award in recognition for one of our major projects from last year. The 2013 SPARKS Mental Health Roadshow was selected as the 2014 winner of the Assembly of European Regions “Most Youth Friendly European Region” Special Award. . In total, 24 out of 27 secondary schools, and over 800 students in the county, participated in the roadshows which took place in five different locations. Click on link below for Press Release:

We also launched SHAM: (Sexual Health And More) website, which is a new signposting website linking all the services that exist in relation to Sexual Health in Donegal and other related services in the county – 
Want to know more – see some photos in the gallery below, then click here for press release:

 We also made a video about our recent LGBT Chalk It Up event in Donegal Town to mark Belong To Stand Up week. It was made as part of a new partnership we have with the WIMPS media organisation from Northern Ireland who trained the young people how to do the film-making too. Click link below for video: 

In April 2014 we also launched our Youth Manifesto, in advance of Donegal County Council Elections on May 23. Read more below



Photo Gallery