Mayor Fintan Warfield, assisted by South Dublin County Council staff and Comhairle na nÓg organised a conference for young people in RUA RED. Over sixty young people representing schools and youth services countywide took part, sharing their experiences of growing up in South Dublin County and their ideas for the future.

Mayor Warfield said;

“If young people are to participate in policy making, the tools should be made available for Ireland’s youth to do so. This conference aims to provide that forum.”

Chairperson Orla Ryan from The Journal, introduced our panel of experts who were invited to discuss, give their views and share the work of their organisations on four topics: ‘Finding a Job’, Mental Health, Recreation and Facilities, and LGBT and Sexuality.

The panel consisted of James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland, Marie Kielty representing Tallaght IT, Derek Hanley from the Jigsaw Project, Senator Katryn Reilly – Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Youth Affairs and Gerard Roe from BeLonG To.

Following a lively discussion and Q&A session with the panel, participants were invited to take part in one of four workshops facilitated by Foróige and Crosscare staff.

In the workshops, young people identified how they feel about the County they live in, what services are available to them, and their rights.

Young people spoke of the importance of friends, places to go and ‘hang out’ as well as having the freedom to be different, and feel safe and happy with whom they are.

Mayor Warfield in his closing address promised to look at all the feedback, share this with relevant organisations and during his term in office meet recommendations made were possible.