Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, today (Thursday) urged increased engagement with young people by politicians and public services. Deputy Doherty was speaking after her attendance at Comhairle na nÓg in Croke Park to mark the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.
“The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, which I am a member of, held a special session at Croke Park where the young people presented to us some of the issues that affect them such as drugs, mental health, cyber bullying and facilities.
I was so impressed with the outstanding quality of the contributions of those attending and I can tell you we learned a thing or two. Their engagement and commitment was a real reminder of the fact that we don’t engage with and listen to young people enough.
“It really strikes me that young people are seeking and sharing information in very different and rapidly evolving ways. Just a few years ago websites were cutting edge but now they are being passed over in favour of more interactive forums like Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook.
“Politicians, and everyone involved in providing public service, including myself, have to rethink how we communicate and engage with young people, as information flows move from traditional platforms like television, newspapers and even websites, to more social platforms. Our society is all the poorer because we are not hearing the views of a certain age group.
“Comhairle na nÓg is one great way of doing this and I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend with the Taoiseach and my colleagues on the health committee. I was particularly happy to see a strong delegation from Meath – Shane McGoldrick (Rathoath), Marta Ni Riada (Dunshaughlin), Tara Dunne (Athboy) and Sean King (Kells).