PICTURES: Young people gather to Have Their Say in City Hall 

“They want services embedded in the community."
PICTURES: Young people gather to Have Their Say in City Hall 

The scene in City Hall where a 'Have Your Say Day' Forum was organised by Foroige attended by Youth Groups across the City and County. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Dozens of young people from around Cork gathered in City Hall in recent days to to debate, explore, and highlight issues that are important to them and their communities.

The Have Your Say Day for young people is a collaborative piece of work with the Northern Ireland Youth Forum and is being held in all four provinces nationwide during the month of May. Cork was chosen to host the Munster event and more than 75 young people took part. 

Guest speakers included a community drug and alcohol worker, a community garda from Mayfield and a mental health awareness representative.

Celine Hurley, Foroige Community Drug Watch, speaking at the recent 'Have Your Say Day' Forum organised by Foroige which was held in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Celine Hurley, Foroige Community Drug Watch, speaking at the recent 'Have Your Say Day' Forum organised by Foroige which was held in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy

The topics that were discussed in depth and passionately at the event included mental health awareness around services and accessibility to services, drugs and alcohol, Gardaí and their relationships with young people.

Owen Neenan from Foróige’s LinkPoint UBU Project and his colleague Seán Mealy in Knocknaheeny Youth Diversion Project helped to support six young people from Knocknaheeny and Mayfield in organising the event. Their daily role involves working in youth activism and promoting a voice for young people.

Cormac O'Neill of NorthSouth Youth Forum speaking to Lucy Ni Chathmhaoil, Clodagh Ni Cheallachain and Abbie Nic Craith at the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Cormac O'Neill of NorthSouth Youth Forum speaking to Lucy Ni Chathmhaoil, Clodagh Ni Cheallachain and Abbie Nic Craith at the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Mr Neenan said the young people who gathered in Cork City Hall last Friday came from all over the city and its environs. 

“A lot of work went into preparing for the event. Over 75 young people gathered to discuss issues and topics that affect them in their daily lives," he said. 

Pictured at the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork were Celine Hurley, Foroige; Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald; Josephine Dempster, Mayfield and Cara Cullen, Knocknaheeny with Paudie O'Sullivan TD and Sean Mealy, Youth Worker. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Pictured at the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork were Celine Hurley, Foroige; Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald; Josephine Dempster, Mayfield and Cara Cullen, Knocknaheeny with Paudie O'Sullivan TD and Sean Mealy, Youth Worker. Picture: Howard Crowdy

"The people came from a range of Foróige projects and clubs in the city. 

"The participants came from Mayfield, Glanmire, Knocknaheeny, Mayfield, Ballyphehane, Togher, Greenmount and a few came from a Foróige club in Aghada.

The event provoked great debates as the guest speakers presented on the agreed topics. This was then followed by the young activists who expressed their concerns and experiences on these issues.

Louisa Ward of NorthSouth Youth Forum, right, listens to the opinions of young people during the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Louisa Ward of NorthSouth Youth Forum, right, listens to the opinions of young people during the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Mr Neenan said the young people who were involved in the event want the Government to act on the issues that are ‘important’ to them and their communities. 

“They want services embedded in the community," he said. "They want to promote drug and alcohol awareness, and they want to highlight the importance of positive garda and community relations.”

The project worker said it is good to ‘empower’ young people. 

Jamie James, Chloe Murphy and Noelle Corbett from Knocknaheeny speaking to young people at the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Jamie James, Chloe Murphy and Noelle Corbett from Knocknaheeny speaking to young people at the recent Foroige 'Have Your Say' Forum in the City Hall in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy

“The aim of the event is to create a youth manifesto which is going to be a written document echoing all the voices of the young people in the room," Mr Neenan explained. "We will put that to the Government, and they are going to have to respond to the requests from the young people.

“It is good to empower young people. The main goal is to improve the lives of everyone in their communities. It is the ultimate event by young people for young people. It is completely youth led and youth empowerment is the central theme. It is all about hearing the youth voice. 

"When the young people meet as a collective from all over Cork city, we would like to think their voices will be heard." 

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