In 2018, Aoife Murphy (15) from Westmeath brought the voice of young people around Ireland to the Taoiseach’s office on Monday November 19th. Aoife campaigned for Ireland to lower the voting age to 16 and spent the day with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar highlighting why young people deserve to have a say in decisions that affect their future. “Young people are facing great challenges like climate change, inequality and unemployment. We want to play our part in deciding who is making the decisions, that ultimately will have a far greater impact on our generation than theirs. It is our future – we deserve our say,” If politicians saw young people as a credible constituent, they would take their view in to consideration more. On the day, Aoife met with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at the First 5 strategy launch.
In 2017, Joella Dhlamini (16) from Drogheda, Co. Louth spent World Children’s Day with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Joella and Mr. Varadkar attended a number of events across counties Meath and Dublin before returning to Leinster House for World Children’s Day celebrations. Mr. Varadkar heard how Joella would educate people about the impact of racism if she could change one thing about Ireland. Joella is originally from Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa but moved to Ireland in 2013 to escape violent crime, and to benefit from Ireland’s education system. Joella also spoke to Mr. Varadkar about issues of concern for young people in Ireland, as expressed to UNICEF Ireland, including disability rights, poverty, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.