The mayor of Limerick, Cllr Diarmuid Scully, has written to the 15 secondary schools in the city inviting them to nominate students to form a Young City Council.
“The idea is that the senior cycle students in each school would elect one student to serve as their representative on the Young City Council. The group will meet quarterly in City Hall,” the mayor said.
“These meetings will be chaired by myself, as mayor. Senior city officials will be present to answer questions. The meetings will be open to both press and public.”
He said Young City Council would provide a forum for young people to air their views on how their city should be run.
“It will also give a practical experience of democracy in action, and provide those elected with an opportunity to learn how local government works and enhance their public speaking skills. I hope that every school in Limerick will agree to take part,” he said.
Mayor Scully cut his political teeth in student politics and was a student leader when he attended the University of Limerick.
The mayor’s initiative has been welcomed by school heads in the city.
Noel Earlie, principal of CBS Sexton Street, said any forum which introduced young people to the democratic process was to be welcomed.
“It will help show them how democracy at local level works and also help in the personal development of students,” he said.
Mr Earlie said his school had a very strong tradition of fostering people who went into local politics.
Mayor Scully is a former pupil of CBS Sexton Street as was former mayor Dick Sadlier. The Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Cllr Brigid Teefy, is a former chairperson of the school’s parents council.
Mr Earlie said: “This new forum may help the school turn out some future mayors and cathaoirleach of the county council.”
Aedin Ní Bhriain, principal of the all girl Laurel Hill Coláiste, said: “It is a great idea to help foster civic spirit and give a voice to young people and encourage them to participate. This is very positive and from our point of view it will give us an opportunity to promote the use of Irish in a public forum.”