04th Feb 2020
With the 2020 General Election just days away, Irish politicians sat down with a group of children to find out which issues matter most to them
Irish children have a powerful voice – the recent school strike for climate proved that. They’re not afraid to question things, nor are they shy about demanding better from the adults in charge. With that in mind, young people from various youth groups across Ireland came together on Tuesday for a special children’s hustings.
Gathering at the Ark in Dublin’s city centre, kids from all over the country were given an opportunity to raise concerns around issues including housing, direct provision, mental health, education and climate action. Other children wanted to ask about policies surrounding online safety, while some enquired about the politicians themselves.
On the issue of mental health, one young person asked, “Have you considered looking at sources of poor mental health rather than implementing things like guidance counsellors?”
Not only do their questions show how engaged young people are in Irish politics, but it also highlights their awareness of big societal issues.
‘Ireland needs a generous leader’
While all of the points raised were incredibly important, two particular questions stood out above the rest.
“Why are politicians so rude to each other,” asked a girl named Lily-Rose, “when Ireland needs a generous, kind person to lead our country? You’re supposed to be someone that children can look up to!” she said.
Meanwhile, Raymond (who is aged just 11) asked whether or not these politicians will “keep their promises” – a skill so often pressed upon children, but so rarely demonstrated by adults.
Overall, the reaction to today’s children’s hustings has been positive. Tanya Ward, CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance and one of the organisers behind the event said, “Young people will not get the opportunity to vote for the next government, so we wanted to create a space where young people could have their voices heard in this election campaign.
“It is telling that many of the issues being raised by young people are the very ones getting sidelined in the political debates thus far. The more we hear from [them], the harder it will be for political leaders to ignore them.”
Photo: Children’s Rights Alliance
Read more: Is there something about Mary? Sinn Féin and the hidden female vote
Read more: 9 questions you should ask candidates ahead of the General Election
Read more: Balancing parenthood with the campaign trail: ‘Nobody would have asked my husband about his paternity leave’
These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...
This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour. Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...
Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...
Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...
Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...
Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...
“I was confused. Hadn’t I just been told this was a perfect time to be pregnant?” she questioned. Actress Cortney...