Children's opinions should be heard
Young people have a right to have their opinions heard on the children’s referendum and other plebiscites that directly affect them, according to the director of Unicef Ireland.
Peter Power said Unicef spent time talking to children across Dublin to hear how they felt their rights were being addressed and to find out what they thought about the referendum itself.
Young people’s understanding of the amendment is high, he said. “They understand clearly that the events which have happened in Ireland over the last 20 or 30 years have partly been caused by fundamental deficits in our constitution.”
Unicef was responding to a call from the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald who “said that the government itself cannot reach out to young people on its own and it requires youth advocacy groups to reach out and involve young children in the campaign.”
Mr Power was speaking at an event in Dublin organised by the “It’s about you” campaign, an initiative that seeks to inform youngsters about the referendum. The campaign balloted over 1,700 young people across the country and found 86 per cent would vote Yes in the referendum.
Helen Major (17) from the youth organisation Spunout, called for the voting age to be lowered. “The young people who are going to be affected by this don’t get a say in their own future,” she said.
“It seems that young people have an appetite for change and the will to make a difference. We should be listened to when decisions are being made which are relevant to our lives.”