Young people from across Limerick will gather at the University of Limerick this Friday (24th October, 2014) for the final Annual General Meetings of Limerick City Comhairle na nÓg and Limerick County Comhairle na nÓg.
From 2015, the two separate Youth Councils will be amalgamated to form a single Comhairle for Limerick in 2015.
The Comhairle, which is part of a programme being run by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is a local forum for young people where they can discuss local and national issues of relevance to them.
In recent years, children and young people from every part of Limerick have discussed a variety of issues, including anti-social behaviour, drugs, alcohol, bullying, and the way future recreation facilities are developed and managed. The themes explored by Comhairle members this year are Young People’s Health and Young people’s Accommodation, tying in with the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Both Comhairlí are run by Limerick City and County Council, in association with Limerick Youth Service and other partners, Limerick Clare ETB, Foroige, Limerick Childcare Committee, Tipperary Youth Service and the HSE.
“This important annual event helps to reinforce the need for Limerick’s main agencies to work together, as well as engage with young people on the issues that they deem to be of importance to them,” commented Cllr. Kevin Sheahan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County Council.
He continued: “As an Elected Representative, I understand the importance of considering the opinions of younger members of the community when devising local or national policy. Comhairle na nÓg provides such a platform for young people to engage with and influence key decision makers and I look forward to this continuing under a single Limerick Comhairle in 2015.”
“I would like to congratulate everybody who has contributed to the development of both Limerick City and County Comhairle na nNóg down through the years. Most importantly, I wish to acknowledge the past and present Comhairle delegates from every corner of Limerick who have helped establish Comhairle na nÓg as the foremost local forum for young people,” the Cathaoirleach added.
The upcoming convention will be attended by students from Limerick’s secondary schools, as well as members of the City and County’s youth clubs and groups representing hard to reach young people.
According to Josephine Cotter Coughlan, Director of Services, Limerick City and County Council: “In recent years, the input and opinions of Comhairle na nÓg delegates have helped to formulate national policies affecting the lives of young people and children. On a local level, Limerick City and County Council has developed a number of policies with substantial input from children and young people. The upcoming Comhairle na nÓg meeting is part of a long-term plan with the goal of improving the ability of Limerick’s young people to represent their thoughts and ideas.”
“The Comhairle this year will be the last where Limerick City Comhairle and Limerick County Comhairle will have separate AGMs. From 2015 it is proposed to have a single Comhairle for Limerick City and County. The two separate Comhairle will discuss their respective topics separately in the morning session on Friday, and will then come together after lunch to feed back on their findings to the whole group,” concluded Ms. Cotter Coughlan.