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Government need to act on youth views or accept responsibility for apathy

Blog Posts Decem­ber 17th2012

SpunOut are today calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to implement the proposals emerging from the ‘Being Young & Irish’ initiative facilitated by President Michael D. Higgins or risk alienating young people from the democratic process.

Over 800 young people took part in the first presidential seminar to produce the ‘Take Charge of Change’ declaration, which not only offers up views on a wide range of policy areas but also commits young people in Ireland to take ownership of change in their own communities and daily lives.

The declaration outlines policy positions in a number of areas with jobs, political reform, education and equality being identified as areas of priority for young people.

Among the proposals made was the establishment of a new National Youth Forum to continue the engagement of young people with policy-making, as well as a new approach to teaching Irish in schools.

Young people also called on the Government to legislate for the X case, hold a referendum on abortion and legislate for marriage equality.

The declaration was presented to senior decision-makers by 100 young people from across the country on Saturday (November 17th) at a seminar held at Áras an Uachtaráin.

President Higgins formally accepted the declaration on behalf of the people of Ireland, while Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald T.D. represented and responded on behalf of the Government.

The Minister said the declaration would be placed at the heart of her department’s youth strategy.

“Young people have spoken and engaged in the process, it is up to decision-makers to now listen and take action to show they take their efforts seriously” says SpunOut’s Youth Engagement Officer John Buckley.

“Politicians have long held that young people are disinterested in the political process. The ‘Take Charge of Change’ declaration demonstrates this is not the case but if the Government sits on this document without taking action, they risk alienating young people further from the democratic process.”

For more information:

Ian Power, Communications Officer (083) 148 4527 or


The ‘Take Charge of Change’ declaration can be downloaded here