A STUDENT from Christian Brothers College Cork has beaten off stiff competition from more than 130 entrants to win the ActionTalks Speech Writing Competition.
Jonathan Walsh took home the prize in what was the first in-person final of the competition since 2019.
Other students competing on the day included Anna McSweeney and Jonathan Walsh from Munster, Elle Walsh Giguere and Caoimhe Spain from Leinster, and Áine Gilhooly and Hannah McNally who won the Connacht/Ulster heat of the competition.
Now in its eighth year, the competition aims to engage young people through global issues including gender equality and sustainable development and challenges them to use their voices for positive change.
This year's themes focused on vaccine inequity globally, unpaid care work and violence against women.
The writing competition, run by ActionAid, is open to students between the ages of 14 and 17.
A total of six students delivered their speeches in historic Wood Quay in Dublin this week to a panel of expert judges.
Jonathan's speech honed in on the issue of vaccine inequity, with judges lauding him for his in-depth passion and understanding of the topic.
Judges on the day included CEO of AkiDwA-a national network of migrant women living in Ireland- Dr Salome Mbugua; former MEP and Lord Mayor of Dublin and current Policy & Advocacy Manager with the Irish Development Education Association, Emer Costello; Assistant General Secretary with the Association of Secondary Teachers, ActionAid Ireland board member Moira Leydon; and Programme Coordinator with ActionAid Ireland, Erick Onduru from Kenya also sat on the judging panel.
CEO of ActionAid Ireland Karole Balfe praised Jonathan for his confidence and work ethic.
“The standard and quality of the speeches submitted in this year’s competition was incredible. It was wonderful to see so many students across the country take part and share their views on global issues so articulately, and with such passion. It was truly inspiring, and I can safely say, I feel hopeful for the future with these young people. Jonathan displayed a true confidence in bringing his message on vaccine inequity across and gave the audience a lot to think about. We are delighted to announce Johnathon as the winner of ActionTalks. Jonathan’s hard work is truly appreciated, and he should be very proud.”