Assembly Speaker Introduces New Advisory Group for the Youth Assembly

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 03 March 2021

Reference: SO 02/20/21

Alex Maskey MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly will hold the first meeting of the new Youth Assembly Advisory Group today. The Advisory Group has been set up to advise the Speaker on what is needed to establish, implement and review the development of the Youth Assembly. During its first meeting, the Group will consider the recruitment process for Youth Assembly members to advise and assist the Assembly Commission before it formally decides on the arrangements.

Alex Maskey MLA, said:

“Excellent progress has already been made in the development of the Youth Assembly. Since we announced the Commission’s plans to establish the Youth Assembly, a great deal of work has been undertaken, particularly in relation to engaging with, and involving, young people in the decision-making process.  The creation of this new Advisory Group is another important step forward.

The members of the Advisory Group are drawn from a wide range of organisations and include young people themselves. Each of the members brings valuable experience and knowledge from across the youth sector.  In the conversations I have had with members of the group individually in recent months, I am really encouraged by the enthusiasm to support the Assembly Commission in getting the Youth Assembly up and running.

The Youth Assembly will give young people a voice; a way to raise concerns and have their say on the issues that matter to them.  We intend to launch the recruitment process for Youth Assembly Members over the next few months, and I would urge all young people to consider applying and making the most of what will be a fantastic opportunity, both for them and indeed society as a whole.”



Notes to Editors

The members of the new Youth Assembly Advisory Group are:

  • Alex Maskey MLA Speaker of the Assembly, (Chairperson)
  • Lesley Hogg, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Gareth McGrath, Director of Parliamentary Services, Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • Professor Laura Lundy, Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Sean McDonnell, Youth Worker, Youth Network for Peace
  • Carter Wickham, YouthAction young person
  • Chris Quinn, Director, NI Youth Forum
  • Naomi Sloan, NI Youth Forum young person
  • Arlene Kee, Assistant Director, Education Authority Youth Service
  • Aimee Woods, Lisburn & Castlereagh Youth Council and Education Authority, young person
  • In July 2020, the Assembly Commission announced its support for the development of a Youth Assembly in Northern Ireland. 
  • The Assembly Commission is the corporate body of the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is chaired by the Speaker, Alex Maskey MLA and consists of five other Assembly Members: Keith Buchanan MLA, John O'Dowd MLA, Dolores Kelly MLA, Robbie Butler, and John Blair MLA.
  • Members of the Commission recorded a video to show their support for the development of the Youth Assembly. You can watch it here: The video can be downloaded and shared on media websites and social channels.
  • It is proposed that the Youth Assembly will broadly mirror the structures of the Northern Ireland Assembly:
    • It will have 90 members, 54 of whom will be drawn from the Northern Ireland Assembly constituencies and 36 others to ensure inclusive and proportionate representation from Section 75 categories.
    • The core age range of the members will be 13 to 17, but, if required, that can be extended to 21 to ensure that all Section 75 categories are represented.
    • It is envisaged that the Youth Assembly will have two plenary sittings a year and have up to four Committees, which will meet more regularly.
    • The two plenary sittings are likely to take place in Parliament Buildings and will be presided over by the Speaker in the Assembly Chamber.
    • The Committees of the Youth Assembly may also meet in Parliament Buildings, but it is expected that they will also meet in other locations.
  • Comprehensive safeguarding measures and protections will be put in place, including training and support for the members of the Youth Assembly and all those working with them.
  • Find out more by following the Northern Ireland Youth Assembly on Facebook, Instagram and TwitterRegister for news and updates on the Youth Assembly.


For media inquiries please contact:

Caroline Moore
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Tel: 07900 278992

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