Youth Assembly Continues to be the Voice for Young People Across NI
Session: Session currently unavailable
Date: 05 November 2022
Reference: REF SO 05/22/23
The Northern Ireland Youth Assembly held its fourth plenary sitting today (Saturday 5 November) at in the Assembly Chamber at Parliament Buildings. The sitting saw Youth Assembly members come together to represent the voice of all young people across Northern Ireland. At the meeting, they provided an update on their work to date before participating in an important debate on the minimum age of criminal responsibility here.
Speaker Alex Maskey who chaired the sitting said: “Once again, I am delighted to welcome our Youth Assembly members to Parliament Buildings and to hear all about their work. The Youth Assembly Committees have been working hard, focusing on their issues and discussing how they can make a difference and what change they’d like to see. All of the areas the young people are focusing on - Health, Education, Environment and Rights and Equality - are extremely important to everyone who lives here, and it’s imperative that young people’s voices are represented so they too can help find ways to better our public services here and improve people’s quality of life.
Speaker Maskey concluded: “This was the fourth Youth Assembly plenary sitting and it was encouraging to see members in the Assembly Chamber, making speeches, contributing to debates and participating in voting. Today’s plenary was another excellent opportunity for our young people to be closely involved in democracy, to learn how the political system works, and how to negotiate, influence and listen compassionately to the views of others. In turn, I think we all can learn from their level of enthusiasm, and their passion and strive for progress, and I look forward to seeing how their ideas and views are heard across the political spectrum here.”
During the sitting, rapporteurs from each of the four Youth Assembly Committees presented a report on their work and invited questions and comments from the floor. In addition, a selection of members provided an update on the business of the Youth Assembly, which included a number of key meetings with officials, contributions to consultations, and training undertaken. The young people then held a debate on the following motion: “This house believes that the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be raised in Northern Ireland from 10 to 14.” Although the majority voted against the change, members were instead keen to consider a range of ages between 10-18 years.
Notes to Editor:
- The Youth Assembly held its first plenary sitting (virtually) on Friday 2 July 2021. The second plenary sitting was held in person in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings on Saturday 6 November 2021. The third plenary sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber on Saturday 5 March 2022.
- There are four Youth Assembly Committees – Health, Education, Environment, Rights and Equality.
- The Youth Assembly consists of 90 members, aged between 13 to 17.
- Each Youth Assembly mandate lasts for two years. The current mandate is 2021-2023.
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