Our young delegates in conversation with Leader reporter Rebecca Laffan in Ormston House - Picture: Gareth Williams
Meet the Limerick school students who have been selected as delegates for a Youth Assembly in the Dáil this Friday.
Six young people will be representing Limerick on November 15, with 14-year-old Fridays for Future Limerick activist Saoirse Exton representing Clare.
The Limerick delegates include: David Bourke, 16, from Crecora, Marta Brenda, 17, from Dooradoyle, Jackson Griffin, 16, from Kilcornan, Ronan Griffin, 16, from Adare, Iona Logan, 17, from Limerick city, and 10-year-old Zara Williams O’Dowd from Adare.
Here are the students representing Limerick (including Clare representative Saoirse Exton)
David Bourke, 16
David Bourke is a 5th-year student in Ardscoil Rís, Limerick. A keen power-lifting enthusiast and a flute player, David has previously participated in Fleadh Cheoil, a festival that celebrates Irish traditional music and culture. David is a member of the Ardscoil Rís Peace & Justice group who campaign, advocate and give a voice to people that are vulnerable, exploited and less fortunate. To date, David has assisted in facilitating campaigns to raise awareness for homelessness, internet safety, climate change, and human rights issues.
Marta Brenda, 17
I was inspired to get involved in the Youth Assembly because of my desire to create a future where the earth is a cleaner and safer place. It is important to me to spread awareness on the effects of global warming and how we, as individuals, can improve our environment by starting with small changes in our lives that are big changes for the planet. At the moment in school I am trying to educate others on fast fashion. I like to experiment with different clothing items that are second-hand, sustainable and fashionable at the same time!
Jackson Griffin, 16
I'm Jackson Griffin and I'm from the small parish of Kilcornan Co.Limerick. Being from such a small rural town, I rarely get to visit Dublin. But I always make it up to protest (using public transport of course). I have a passion for trying to improve our world in any way I can. This is why I'm vegan and a veganism advocate. I'm very happy to have heard about the RTE Youth Assembly through my school. In my downtime I play a number of sports and listen to music.
Ronan Griffin, 17 (not present for photoshoot)
Ronan Griffin is a Transition Year student in Ardscoil Rís, Limerick. He is from Adare, Co. Limerick and is 16 years old. A keen tennis player & a pianist, Ronan is also a member of the school choir. As a 3rd year student, Ronan was a finalist in the Trócaire Game Changers competition where he designed a game which explored issues such as human rights, the hazardous journeys of refugees and the challenges of delivering aid to countries affected by poverty. Ronan is a member of the Ardscoil Rís Peace & Justice group who campaign, advocate and give a voice to people that are vulnerable, exploited and less fortunate.
Iona Logan, 17
I'm Iona Logan. I’m 17, from Limerick city, and in 5th Year in Crescent College Comprehensive SJ.
To me, climate change is the most urgent issue of our times. Decisions made today will literally determine the future of life on earth as we know it. I’m an active member of Fridays for Future Limerick, striking every Friday I can. I’m a Climate Ambassador with An Taisce and, with our Green Schools committee, last year started the process of eliminating single-use plastics from our school. I play traditional flute and concertina. I love walking my dog, cycling and being with friends.
Zara Williams O'Dowd, 10
Hi! I'm Zara. I’ve grown up in Adare where I live with my parents, younger sister and brother and my beautiful cat. I’m ten and in 5th class in Shountrade N.S. My interest in climate change became my passion after hearing a Greta Thunberg speech. I became a vegetarian, went on a Friday strike, and helped clean up Lahinch beach. I try to talk to everyone about the climate change crisis. It’s such a huge issue and people need to be better informed. In my free time, I love sport, reading and just hanging out with my friends.
Saoirse Exton, 14
I live in O'Briensbridge, Co Clare, but I do everything in Limerick City. I go to school in Irish, I’m in 3rd year, and I’ve been striking for seven months. I’ve helped organise three major strikes, I’ve been Limerick Person of the Month, I’ve given speeches in Limerick and Dublin, and I was one of 14 Irish delegates who went to Switzerland, to help develop the structure of Fridays for Future Europe and meet some amazing people, including Greta Thunberg. In my spare time, I read books, play cello, fiddle and ukulele, and help to organise Fridays for Future Limerick!