Students stage a Twitter Takeover @unicefireland to voice their concerns to political leaders ahead of the General Election 2016

1st February 2016

Dublin, 2nd February 2016, UNICEF pioneers innovative engagement between young people and political.

Scores of children across Ireland will stage the first Twitter Takeover of UNICEF Ireland’s Twitter feed @unicefireland, on Thursday, 4th February, from 9 to 10:15a.m.

This week young people across Ireland will look for answers from political leaders ahead of the General Election to key questions affecting Irish youth such as, climate change, inequality, education and health.

Students in schools across a number of constituencies will use UNICEFs Twitter Takeover to quiz both Government and opposition leaders based on issues raised in an election manifesto; created by children for children. They will grill ministers and party leaders on their policy differences and resource allocation.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly TD has agreed to face the spotlight first, followed by the leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan and People Before Profit party leader, Richard Boyd Barrett TD. Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD and the Fianna Fáil Party leader, Micheál Martin TD will also take questions on young people’s priorities for the country’s future.

Fellow Tweeters, who want to join the Twitter Takeover and add their support for children’s rights, can also make their voices heard by using #GE16Youth. UNICEF Ambassadors, Donncha O’Callaghan and Cathy Kelly will also be adding to the debate.

The initiative is aimed at ensuring children’s views are heard and that young people take part in political discussions during the General Election. Instead of organisations speaking on behalf of children, the initiative aims to ensure children’s voices are heard loud and clear.

Peter Power, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland said, “UNICEFs aim is to facilitate conversations between young people and the political party leaders about the issues affecting children’s lives. We see this initiative as a way to encourage civic engagement, increase knowledge and build capacity among young people. We need the involvement of more young people in Irish politics. This would ensure issues affecting young people would gain more prominence in the political arena.”

UNICEF believes using the Twitter platform provides an ideal opportunity for young people to engage with their political leaders in a transparent way. Young millennials need politicians to engage with them on the open and accessible platforms of their generation.

TODAY, UNICEF INVITES MEDIA TO ENGAGE WITH UNICEF TO HIGHLIGHT THIS MODERN ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN YOUNG PEOPLE AND POLITICIANS.

ENDS

Schedule
9:00 Dr. James Reilly TD Minster for Children and Youth Affairs @DrJamesReilly
9:15 Eamon Ryan Green Party Leader @EamonRyan
9:30 Richard Boyd Barrett TD People Before Profit Party Leader @RBoydBarrett
9:45 Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD Minister of State for New Communities, Culture, Equality and the National Drug Strategy @AodhanORiordain
10:00 Micheál Martin TD Fianna Fáil Party Leader @MichealMartinTD

Children and Teachers from participating schools, are available for interview.
Newpark Comprehensive, Blackrock @IENewparkSchool
Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone @OLBAthlone
St. Finian’s Community College, Swords @StFiniansCC
Scoil Chaitríona, Glasnevin @S_Chaitriona
Temple Carrig School, Greystones @templecarrigGS
St. Peter’s College, Dunboyne

For further information please contact:
Marina Happaney, UNICEF Ireland, marina@unicef.ie | +353 83 197 4642 / + 353 1 809 0276

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.ie.
Read Stories from other UNICEF takeovers