Tuesday 6th November, 2012Rang Maitiu Take Part in The Big Debate
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Young people vote 84 to 57 in favour of the Children Referendum at the OCO Big Debate



A majority of young people, who took part in the Ombudsman for Children’s Big Debate on the Children Referendum, have voted in favour of the referendum being passed.

Almost 200 students from schools and youth groups in Dublin, Laois, Limerick, Clare, Galway and Monaghan have gathered at the Aviva Stadium today (Tuesday) for the Ombudsman for Children’s Big Debate on the Children Referendum. The debate was chaired by Joe Duffy and ended with a vote on the proposed amendment that was carried in favour of the referendum (84/57).


Throughout the morning, eight students stepped up to the podium to debate the arguments in favour of as well as those against, and then debate was opened up to the floor. The young people had researched the topic well and both the Yes and the No side made compelling arguments. Stephen Corrigan represented the Yes side while Samuel Doyle argued convincingly for a No vote. A message that came up again and again from the young people was that they felt there was not enough information about the Children Referendum, especially aimed at children and young people. They said that as this referendum was about them they had wanted more information, and many added that they wanted to hear balanced arguments not simply one side or the other.

Children’s Ombudsman, Emily Logan said: “It was brilliant to hear what the young people had to say, their careful analysis of the issues related to the referendum and the importance they attached to having their voices being heard. It is certainly disappointing that children’s views were marginalised during this campaign. Young people were surprised that despite the referendum affecting their lives that there has been no attempt to inform them including through leaflets into their homes. I think there are serious lessons for adults to learn from this about civic engagement and education young people about democracy.”


Emily Logan added: “I would urge adults to take the opportunity to inform themselves about the issues, make up their minds and most importantly to use this historic opportunity on Saturday to cast their vote”.

The schools and groups taking part are St John Boscos, Kildysat, Co Clare; Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise, Laois; St Macartan’s College, Monaghan; St Nessan’s Community College, Limerick; Holy Rosary College, Mountbellow, Co Galway; Northside Partnership, Dublin; Rialto Youth Group; and EPIC.

The debate was followed by a tour of the inspiring Aviva Stadium.


 For the Irish Times article click below: