Young People from Foróige Quiz Presidential Candidates on Their Vision for Youth in Ireland
Resource type: News
By Karen Hannify, Foróige
Young people from Foróige participated in a special “Vision for Ireland’ Youth Forum putting the spotlight on Presidential Candidates on the role young people will play in their vision for Ireland. Five Presidential Candidates – Dana Rosemary Scallon, Sean Gallagher, Michael D. Higgins, Gay Mitchell and Mary Davis – participated in the forum with a 100-strong delegation of young people from across the country. The forum was organised by Foróige, Ireland’s leading Youth Development Organisation, to highlight the particular significance the office of Uachtarán na hEireann has for young citizens.
Sean Campbell, Chief Executive of Foróige said, “A generation of young people have grown up without a presidential debate and we organised this event to give our youngest citizens a voice and opportunity to engage with presidential hopefuls. Young people as citizens of the future are well informed and have views and aspirations on the type of president they want to lead us for the next seven years. Presidential Candidates got a very important insight into the thinking of our future generation and no doubt promises made today by each candidate won’t be forgotten by the young people when our new First Citizen takes up office.”
Topics debated by young people with the candidates at round table discussions and a Q&A session included education, the economy, youth mental health, emigration, and equality.
Prof. Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI, Galway who chaired the forum said, “Civic engagement is important for young people to give them a sense of purpose and belonging. Often young people are over looked as potential voters as it is assumed there is a lack of interest or apathy on their part, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Connecting with the Ireland of tomorrow, and one which young people face in the context of the stress and strain of the current social and economic crisis, will be extremely important in this presidential campaign.”
Foróige is an Atlantic grantee.