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Thursday 17 October 2019

OUR YOUTH HAVE THEIR SAY

PHOTOS BY GER HORE CONOR CULLEN

THE young people of Co Wexford aired their opinions on some serious issues at last week's Comhairle na nÓg conference.

The ninth annual AGM of Comhairle na nÓg drew a large number of students from around Co Wexford to the Ferrycarrig Hotel last Wednesday.

There were at least two representatives from each of the county's second level schools, as well as representatives from a number of other youth projects and education and training centres, totalling around 80 participants.

Wexford County Council Denis Kennedy officially opened the AGM and welcomed ' the future of Wexford'.

Cllr Kennedy spoke about the importance of giving young people opportunities to discuss issues that affect them and a means to put to forward their opinions to effect change.

On behalf of all the delegates, he thanked the members of the present Wexford Comhairle na nÓg who meet monthly to progress issues affecting young people across the county.

The two main topics on the agenda last Wednesday, decided by the members of the Comhairle, were whether or not the Junior Cert should be scrapped or reformed and the importance of having a healthy, active lifestyle and how to achieve one.

To fully explore the issues the delegates all broke up into groups of 10 for round-table discussions. There were a number of adult facilitators – from the FDYS, Wexford County Council and the Gardaí – who took a backseat as the discussions developed.

' The quality of the discussions was really fantastic and some great ideas came out of it,' said Kieran Donohoe, CEO of FDYS Wexford.

'It was a very, very good day and I think we can all relax knowing our future is in the hands of these young people,' he said.

Their recommendations will now be brought forward by the Wexford Comhairle to the Dáil na nÓg, which is taking place in Croke Park in November.

As part of the business of the meeting ten new members were picked to join the current Comhairle members and together these representatives will form the Wexford Comhairle na nÓg and represent young people in County Wexford for 2011-2012.

This group will examine the issues identified at the AGM and examine what measures could be put in place to make a positive difference. They will also look at how best to ensure that decision-makers create opportunities for young people to have their say and contribute to determining what type of society we want to live in.

The new representatives for the Wexford Comhairle na nÓg are Aoife Byrne, Coolcotts Youth Project; Katie Creane, Caim Youth Club; Elaine Fitzharris, St Mary's New Ross; Cáilin Fitzpatrick, Gorey Community College; Laura Murphy, Bunclody Vocational College; MacDara de Róiste, Meanscoil Gharman; Megan Ryan, Caim Youth Club; Emma Shannon, Presentation Secondary School; Alison Spalding, Coláiste an Átha; Kalem Walsh, Enniscorthy VEC.

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