President seeks input from Irish youth

President Michael D Higgins is to issue a national invitation to young people to find out what kind of Ireland they wish to live in and how the ideal can be achieved.

In his inaugural address in November, the President committed to hosting a series of seminars during his office with the first to focus on “Being Young and Irish”.

The Office of the President is now seeking to employ a consultant to research the findings of a consultation process.

The process will include regional seminars across the country and will begin on May 25 and conclude on Sept 29, with four regional seminars due to take place in later this year.

The cost of employing the consultant will not be known until the successful applicant has been

appointed.

A tender document issued by the Office of the President stated: “It is envisaged that the Presidential Seminar, to be held later in the year, will be preceded by a comprehensive consultation process in which views of young people will be sought.”

The Office is seeking researchers to provide an analysis of the consultation findings and for the production of a report setting out the findings.

According to the document, the initiative wishes to hear from young people from diverse backgrounds and seek their views on the difficulties they are experiencing on being young and Irish today.

The initiative also seeks to open up channels of participation; involve young people in the national discussion and debate about what kind of country we have, what we wish to create and how this can be achieved.

It also aims to identify, promote and celebrate original, youth-led sensitive and realisable solutions.

According to the documentation, the consultation process will seek submissions and engage young people in discussion on the following questions:

nWhat kind of Ireland do I want?

nWhat needs to happen to achieve this — what are the issues and barriers to address?

nWhat can I and my peers do to achieve it?

The documentation states 100 participants for each regional seminar will be selected randomly “with a percentage of places reserved for seldom heard voices”.

The report from the consultation will set out young people’s vision for Ireland; the issues and barriers to address and tangible and realisable solutions to achieving this vision.

President Higgins, in his inauguration speech, said the seminar “will address issues of participation, education, employment, emigration and mental health”.

“I hope also that the seminars during the next seven years might encompass consideration of global issues, stressing the importance of the ethical connection between politics, economy, development and society,” he said.

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