Currow teenager, Eimear Horgan is a pupil at St. Joseph’s Presentation Secondary in Castleisland and she was one of eight lucky students invited by Sean Kelly MEP to attend the European Youth Event (EYE) which will take place in the European Parliament seat in Strasbourg today and tomorrow, May 20th and 21 May. It is a unique opportunity for thousands of young Europeans to make their voices heard.
Eimear is a member of Kerry Comhairle na nÓg – which is one of 31 youth councils in the country which give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies and supported by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
In light of the fact that Comhairle na nÓg is for young people under the age of 18 and who therefore have no other voting mechanism to have their voice heard, Comhairle na nÓg is designed to enable young people to have a voice on the services, policies and issues that affect them in their local area.
Kerry Comhairle na nÓg is co-ordinated by Kerry County Council and the work programme is managed by the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service. It is a youth-led initiative that has around 60 members spread throughout the county. They meet in sub-committees in Killarney, Listowel, Tralee and Caherciveen as well as the large group meeting every two months in Tralee. Recent topics that the Comhairle have taken on include mental health, plus drug and alcohol awareness. In terms of mental health the young people organised a mental health first aid training course for teachers and youth workers, and they also organised a colour run on Banna Beach to promote positive mental health. For their drugs and alcohol topic they designed and developed ‘Hugs not Drugs’ wristbands, ran information stands in their schools, helped launch an information booklet and made a DVD with signposting information to help services.
During the event, they will exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues, develop innovative solutions to crucial questions for the future and meet with European decision-makers and speakers with a wide range of professional experience.
At the same time the EYE will provide an opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity within the European Union through the staging of various artistic performances and spectacles.
As follow-up, a report with the ideas discussed during the event will be made available to all Members of the European Parliament. As well, former EYE participants will have the opportunity to present the most concrete ideas produced by young people to a number of parliamentary committees and receive feedbacks from Members.
The students travelling to the EYE along with Eimear Horgan are as follows: Barry Sugrue – Gaelchoilaiste; Eoghan O’Donnell – Gaelchoilaiste; Collette O’Shea – Colaiste na Sceilge; Atlanta Kennedy – Mercy Mounthawk; Erin Fitzgibbon – Mercy Mounthawk; Aisha Lawal – Mercy Mounthawk and Sinead Leen – Mercy Mounthawk.