A study reveals nine out of 10 believe they can help create a better Ireland and the vast majority (92%) also believe leaders and those in authority should consult with them about the country’s future.
However, more than half of the teenagers feel young people are not treated fairly and with respect and almost half believe they are not given opportunities to air their views.
The online survey of over 300 teenagers found most are worried about what they were going to do after they leave school (74%).
Over a third cited their family’s financial situation as their main worry.
When asked what they wanted most in life, happiness was ranked highest, followed by love and friendship.
Success was more important to men while safety was more important to women.
And while two out of three teenagers said they were proud to be Irish and to live here, they felt their education was not enough to equip them for the world of work.
Over two-thirds said they lacked coping mechanisms for adulthood, while half said their education lacked opportunities for independent thinking and innovation.
The survey was commissioned by Young Social Innovators (YSI), Ireland’s largest civic action programme for young people.
This year around 5,500 people aged 15 to 18 years took part in the YSI project-based programme, undertaking almost 350 projects on social issues,
A total of 60 projects have been short-listed for next week’s showcase event in Dublin that will be attended by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and 3,000 teenagers.
Among the projects in contention are a national missing person’s awareness campaign, a youth literacy programme, community renovation schemes and a public campaign against the closure of a family resource centre.
YSI, co-founded by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, is funded through sponsorship, mainly from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
Additional support is received from the HSE, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth affairs, Irish Aid, Department of Education and Skills and KPMG.