Derry young people attend NI Youth Congress

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Young people from Derry this week attended the NI Youth Congress at Stormont.

Around 200 young people from across the North attended the second sitting of the NI Youth Congress, and made the announcement that they will bypass their politicians to organise elections to the first Youth Assembly.

Chris Quinn, Director of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF), said the young people were fed up waiting for the politicians to give the green light to a Youth Assembly.

“They have lobbied for over a decade for a Youth Assembly. Unfortunately the rhetoric does not reflect the reality in that we have garnered cross party support for a Youth Assembly and the UN Committee on the rights of the child have recommended that one should be set up immediately.

“Young people have no vote; we have no Assembly and we are not prepared to wait any longer. We will do this for ourselves and call on the Speaker to continue to allow us to have access to the Parliament Buildings; that politicians engage directly with the Youth Assembly and that they make the resources available to support this work.

“Over coming months it is our intention to refine the methodology and organise elections to the first Youth Assembly.”

Young people from Enagh Youth Forum, Outer West Youth Forum, Park Youth St. Columb’s Park House, and Peace IV Youth Council steering group all attended the congress.

A cross section of politicians from the main parties sat in the Assembly Chamber as the young people discussed a range of topics including mental health, education, apathy and social media.

It is expected that the elections for the Northern Ireland Youth Assembly will take place in Autumn 2018.