Youth Assembly 'A class act' says Assembly Speaker

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 30 June 2023

Reference: SO 11/22/23

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey today hosted the final plenary sitting of the current Youth Assembly in Parliament Buildings.

Prior to the sitting, the Youth Assembly’s four Committees presented to Departmental Permanent Secretaries and to the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on issues including; climate change, mental health, children’s and young people’s rights and relationships and sexuality education (RSE).  

Speaking after today’s final plenary, the Assembly Speaker said: “While I was delighted to welcome our young people back to Parliament Buildings today, it was a bittersweet occasion, as it marks the end of their two-year term as members of the inaugural Youth Assembly.   

“This Youth Assembly has been an incredible achievement and I have been struck by the solidarity, collegiality and determination shared by these young people. They have worked tirelessly to explore a number of important societal issues such as climate change and mental health and I am extremely proud that today, they were able to present their findings and future recommendations directly to government departments.”  

The Speaker continued: “It is often claimed that young people are disinterested in politics, I have never actually believed this and indeed the enthusiasm, innovation and depth of political awareness shown by this Youth Assembly should put that statement to rest once and for all.

“Our young Members have not only used their voice to influence and impact directly on policy-making and the legislative process, but they have given a voice to all young people. I want to say to them directly – remember always that your voice carries weight and it is being heard.”

The Speaker concluded: “As we bid farewell to the Youth Assembly Class of 2023, I want to say that I am extremely proud of my association with them, the opportunity to get to know each of them has truly been one of the greatest highlights of my time in office.

“I hope that they too will go forward with treasured memories and that their legacy and continued voice will be instrumental in encouraging a new group of young people to get involved in the next Youth Assembly when it gets up and running later this year.”


Notes to Editor:

The Youth Assembly’s four Committees met today in the Senate Chamber and presented to the Permanent Secretaries for the Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Health, the Deputy Secretary for Education and to the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Topics included:

  • Climate Change
  • Mental Health
  • Children’s and Young People’s Rights and Equality
  • Relationships and Sexuality Education
  • 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. The fourth plenary sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber on Saturday 5 November 2022. The fifth plenary sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber on 24 February 2023 and the sixth and final plenary sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber on Friday 30 June 2023.  
  • 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.
  • Recruitment for the next Youth Assembly is expected to commence later this year.

Sinead Murphy
The Communications Office
Northern Ireland Assembly
Mobile: 0789 9864 368

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