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Our Brexit Too: Young people have their say on Brexit

Young people from Northern Ireland and the Republic Ireland came together to share their views on Brexit

Written by Hannah Byrne | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news

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"We will be the first generation to live with the full impact of the Brexit decision, yet we did not get the opportunity to vote on this."

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In November 2017, a cross-border conference called ‘It’s Our Brexit Too: Children’s Rights, Children’s Voices’ was held by a group of 120 young people from Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The aim of the conference was to discuss how Brexit will affect the lives of young people on both sides of the border, and bring together key messages and recommendations to be shared with decision makers on all sides of the Brexit process.

Brexit and young people

Of those young people who were eligible to vote on Brexit in 2016, 75% of 18-24 year olds voted to remain as part of the EU. Those who were too young to vote did not have an opportunity to have their say on whether or not the UK should leave the EU. This group of young people will be most affected by Brexit, as they will be living with the consequences of the UK leaving the EU.

As put by Alex, a member of the Brexit Youth Steering Group, “We will be the first generation to live with the full impact of the Brexit decision, yet we did not get the opportunity to vote on this.”

Brexit and Northern Ireland

Young people in Northern Ireland feel the potential effects of Brexit strongly, as their lives may be split across the border. This includes where they go to school, accessing things like healthcare services, and a disruption to their family life if their parents live on separate sides of the border.

It’s Our Brexit Too, Children’s Rights, Children’s Voices Report

After a day of discussion and debate between young people at the conference, the key messages and recommendations were pulled together into a report.

This report was handed to Brexit MPs and officials in Westminster on Monday, 5th March. It is hoped that this report will help to influence discussions and decision making on Brexit by both the UK and EU negotiating teams.

Key messages and recommendations

Key concerns of young people across the border include:

  • Freedom of movement across the border, promoting ease of public transport moving across the border and the issue of roaming charges when travelling from one side of the border to the other.
  • A hard border should be avoided at all costs, and the Good Friday Agreement should be protected to avoid a return to conflict.
  • Ireland-wide cooperation on health care and disability services should continue after Brexit.
    • Healthcare should be accessible to everyone close to where they live, even if the service is across the border.
    • Ambulances must not be delayed when crossing the border.
    • It is important to assess the impact Brexit could have on young people with disabilities
  • No student should have to move school because of Brexit.
    • Students should be able to freely move across the border to attend their school, including allowing school busses to cross over.
    • Access to further education and colleges across the border should not be restricted. This includes preventing an increase in fees for cross-border students.
  • It is important that both UK and Irish governments, and the EU, continue to cooperate in the area of child protection.
  • Northern Ireland should develop policies on discrimination, including protecting the rights of migrants, women, and LGBTI+ people.

You can download the full report here. Click here for a report summary.

For more information on the EU and Brexit visit the SpunOut EU Hub.

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Published March 7th, 2018
Tags eu hub brexit european union uk northern ireland children's rights
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MEPs in Dublin Constituency

Lynn Boylan

01 873 6554


58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Nessa Childers

01 296 2263


11 Glenard Hall, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

Brian Hayes

01 209 6548


6 Main Street, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

MEPs in Midlands North West Constituency

Matt Carthy

042 967 4001


10 Monaghan Street, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

094 962 2710


Priory House, Barrack Street, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon

Marian Harkin

071 914 5890


28 Emmet Place, Union Street, Sligo

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041 685 4633


Mentrim, Drumconrath, Navan, Co. Meath

MEPs in South Constituency

Deirdre Clune

1890 989 533


74 South Mall, Cork

Seán Kelly

085 125 5263


European Parliament, ASP 08F353, rue Wiertz 60, B-1047 Brussels.

Liadh Ni Riada

01 872 6100


20 Commons Road, Blackpool, Cork

Brian Crowley

021 489 6433

Maryborough Lodge, Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork

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