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Youth Assembly Sit in Assembly Chamber

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 05 March 2022

Reference: SO 05/21/11

Today, Saturday 5 March, Alex Maskey MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, again welcomed young people to Parliament Buildings for a sitting of the Youth Assembly in the Assembly Chamber.

Speaker Maskey said: “I was pleased to welcome young people back to Parliament Buildings for what was the third sitting of the Youth Assembly. Unlike the last two sittings, however, Youth Assembly members experienced speaking and debating in the Assembly Chamber. I enjoyed hearing about what the Youth Assembly Committees have been working on and the issues that they are concerned about.”

The sitting was in two parts, the first of which will see rapporteurs from the four Youth Assembly Committees present their work plans and priorities for the next year, before taking feedback and questions from other Youth Assembly members.

During the second part of the sitting, Youth Assembly members had the chance to voice their support for Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children have the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them and that their views should be given due weight. 

Members also called on all future Northern Ireland Executives to listen to young people’s views and those of the Youth Assembly in all aspects of their work, including when preparing future Programmes for Government.

Speaker Maskey MLA concluded: “Hearing from our young people is crucial to ensuring that the laws and policies made here reflect the needs and concerns of the next generation. I know future Executives will listen to the concerns of the Youth Assembly and take their views and ideas seriously.

“Opening up the Assembly Chamber to listen to the Youth Assembly and enabling them to have their say is extremely important to the future of our democracy.”

Today (Saturday) is the first time the Youth Assembly have met and debated in the Assembly Chamber. The first Youth Assembly sitting took place online in July 2021 with the second taking place in the Great Hall in Parliament Buildings in November 2021.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

  • The Youth Assembly is made up of 90 members aged between 13 and 17.
  • The four Youth Assembly Committees are: Education Committee; Environment Committee; Health Committee; and Rights and Equality Committee.
  • The sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber.

Media queries:

Caroline Moore

The Communications Office

Northern Ireland Assembly

Mobile: 07900 278992

Email: caroline.moore@niassembly.gov.uk

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