More than 200 young people from across Ireland will debate the theme of equality at the 20th Dáil na nÓg this Saturday.
Comhairle na nÓg youth council delegates, aged 12-18, will explore equality for young people through debates on issues such as mental health, climate change, body image, drugs and alcohol, youth facilities and LGBTIQ+.
Comhairle na nÓg are child and youth councils in the 31 local authority areas of the country, which give children and young people a voice in the development of local services and policies.
The young delegates will vote on three areas of equality on the day, with the aim of influencing policy at Government level to advance the areas of equality they see as important.
In 2019, a Dáil na nÓg debate and vote on sustainable transport solutions saw reduced fares for young people successfully introduced by Government in Budget 2021 as well as the Government’s Climate Action Plan.
This year’s event will also include a panel discussion on equality with Cllr Yemi Adenuga, Ireland’s first black female elected representative, RTÉ Radio DJ and LGBTQI+ advocate Stephen Byrne, Children’s Rights Alliance CEO Tanya Ward, and Aoife Price, disability advocate with Disability Women Ireland.
Speaking ahead of the event, Taoiseach Michael Martin commended the young people taking part.
“I commend the young people taking part in Dáil na nÓg and indeed for their participation throughout the year in Comhairle na nÓg meetings. Their opinion matters and we as a Government will continue to listen to their thoughts and concerns as we strive for a diverse and inclusive society for all,” he said.
Dáil na nÓg was first established in 2001 as an initiative of the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Minister for the Department, Roderic O’Gorman said that Dáil na nÓg has been a “platform for change” for over 20 years.
Prachi Agrawal, a participant from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Comhairle na nÓg said she is excited for people and the Government to hear what young people have to say about equality in Ireland.
“My fellow Comhairle na nÓg members and I have been working hard in recent months to better understand what the challenge is for equality and today gives us a chance to show what we’ve learned to people like the Minister and to the Government. I want to make sure the voices of young people are heard so that equality is a reality for everyone across the country,” she said.