Young people from Limerick have availed of a rare opportunity to ask the city’s politicians some tough questions.
Following a visit by Elaine Flynn, a volunteer with the Limerick Youth Service, to Leinster House, it was agreed to invite local politicians to address the city’s next generation of voters.
Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan, Deputy Kieran O’Donnell, and local councillors Tom Shortt and Maurice Quinlivan were queried by local young people on issues such as the regeneration project, suicide and the current political system.
The event, which was chaired by Eamon O’Brien of Comhairle na Nóg, was the result of a meeting between LYS Volunteer Elaine Flynn and local Oireachtas members at Leinster House, on April 25th last when, as part of Youth Work Ireland Week, young people spoke with TDs and Senators about youth affairs.
Ms Flynn dubbed the evening “an excellent opportunity for young people to let our politicians know that we want our voice to be heard. Young people often feel left out of the political system.”
Eamon reflected this, saying that many friends of his do not understand the voting process.
It was agreed that the young people in attendance need to be better informed of their social and political entitlements and politics should become more of a feature of the curriculum.
Speaking on suicide, it was agreed that more needs to be done to raise awareness of what mental health actually is, while people need to be aware of services available, for example Pieta House, Console, Assist and the Samaritans.
An audience member also suggested that the numbers of help lines should be compulsory on all mobile phones with a free app/text service explaining what the services they provided.