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The theme of International Youth Day on Saturday 12th August 2017 is ‘Youth Building Peace’
“Ireland continues to lead at the forefront of children and young people’s participation in decision making”
Statement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone


Friday 11th August, 2017

Joining in the celebrations of International Youth Day 2017, Minister Katherine Zappone said:
“Ireland was the first country in Europe (and possibly the world) to have developed a cross-Government National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-making (2015-2020). Since 2015, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has conducted in excess of 20 consultations, surveys and in depth projects, with an additional 5 currently underway, on issues of critical national importance including Brexit, Direct Provision, Cybercrime, Living in Disadvantage, Obesity and the Appointment of the Ombudsman for Children. As such, I note with pride that Ireland continues to lead at the forefront of children and young people’s participation in decision making”.

A key goal of the national strategy is to ensure the participation of seldom-heard and vulnerable children and young people in decision-making. The importance of young voices is a top priority for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

In conjunction with consultations, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs fund and support the work of Comhairle na nÓg. Comhairle na nÓg, which began in 2002, are local councils for children and young people (aged 12-17) that give them a voice on the development of local policies and services. They are active in all 31 local authorities.

In addition, the "Young Voices - Have Your Say" programme is run, on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, by the National Youth Council of Ireland. This programme is a series of regional consultations with young people in Ireland which forms part of a European programme called Structured Dialogue.  Structured Dialogue gives young people all over Europe a chance to influence decisions that affect their lives.  The most recent Young Voices event was held in February 2017 and 131 young people from all over Ireland participated.

Last year, over €57m was allocated to youth services which represented a 10% boost in funding.



The Youth Affairs allocation for 2016 was €51.89m. An additional €5.5m for 2017 represents a 10% increase for youth services.


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