Here for Youth

Waterford Comhairle na nÓg at Dáil na nÓg

Leinster House was host to a fresh political generation when 165 delegates from the 31 Comhairlí na nÓg across Ireland came together for Dáil na nÓg.

Dáil na nÓg is a biennial youth parliament made up of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years and this year it saw discussion of the topic of mental health, which had been identified by over 3,000 young people across each comhairle as a priority issue.After the official opening and welcome address by the Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl, to the Dáil Chamber, delegates robustly debated matters related to mental health that included body imageschool stress and mental health services, and specifically how mental health affects the lives of young people in their communities.

Each Comhairle na nÓg delegate represents one of the 31 local authorities across Ireland and in the afternoon they filled the committee rooms in Leinster House to partake in workshops and further debate the three mental health topics tabled for discussion.Following a formal vote in the afternoon where delegates processed through the lobbies of the Dáil, school stress was selected as the priority topic. This will inform the work of the incoming Comhairle na nÓg national executive between 2024 and 2026, which is tasked with advocating for policy change in this area during its tenure.

In chairing the debate, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, told those gathered: “The young people gathered in the chamber are a powerful force for change. At a time when parts of the world are in turmoil with war, hunger and the devastation of climate change, it is you who hold the keys to your own future. Your discussions today on the themes of mental health, body image and school stress will evoke thoughts and compassion for your peers and colleagues.”

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