Elections 2014: Visions of the future

Some first-time voters – and one under-18-year-old – highlight their priorities for their local councils and the Europe Parliament

‘It is vital that young people  are given the assistance needed to re-enter the workforce if they become unemployed or cannot find work after graduation.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘It is vital that young people are given the assistance needed to re-enter the workforce if they become unemployed or cannot find work after graduation.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Thu, May 15, 2014, 00:01

Mollie MacGinty, 18; Donegal, Midlands North West

Things the local council should prioritise after elections:

1. Develop an action plan to support the local economy. Donegal has been hit hard by unemployment and immigration in recent years. People have moved to the far corners of the world in search of jobs. With a dependency ratio as high as 56.9 per cent in some areas, it is evident that the council needs to work towards stimulating job growth. Given that 2014 is designated the year for jobs and the that Co Donegal has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, this is an issue that needs local government attention.

2. Public transport services in Donegal are in need of improvement. Rural areas are not serviced frequently enough by buses, making it difficult to get from one part of the county to another and leaving smaller towns and villages isolated.

3. A regional needs analysis would show local councillors what they need to work on in their upcoming term. Councillors should communicate with non- profit organisations such as Breakout (LGBT), Aware and minority groups for their local expertise and recommendations. Creating closer links with the local Comhairle na nÓg (I am a member) would ensure that the voice of local youth in Donegal is not forgotten.


Things the European Parliament should prioritise after the elections:

1. The European Parliament needs to ensure funding is available for research and innovation. European economies need to be at the forefront of entrepreneurial innovation to maintain a competitive edge. An innovative Europe is needed to instil confidence in our economies for both consumers and investors.

2. In working to stimulate economic growth, the EU needs to promote the development of a greener economy. According to Eurobarometer, more than half of Europeans feel air quality has deteriorated in the last 10 years. Seven in 10 Europeans consider acidification a serious problem. Global warming is becoming an increasingly concerning issue and the European Parliament must work to reduce the problem.

3. I think that all Irish representatives should be able to speak cúpla focal Gaeilge. It isn’t necessary to speak Irish the entire time in parliament, but I feel that cúpla focail here and there wouldn’t go amiss. Irish is an official language of the European Union so we have the right to have it spoken during parliamentary sessions.

Gareth Gregan, 20; Ennis district, South

Things the local council should prioritise after the elections:

1. Bring local governance into the 21st century through increased use of social media to keep constituents aware of what is being done and increase transparency. For example: Clare County Council is on twitter but has never tweeted.

2. Procedures should be put in place so that all future town planning be reviewed from a human-welfare perspective as much as the commercial and physical need. An example, schools could develop as multi- functional hubs of community activity to serve a local area rather than being sole purpose; or that developers must ensure proper infrastructure within a certain radius prior to construction, thus ending the construction of soulless estates at the edges of urban areas.

3. Increase youth participation throughout local governance. This could be done through adding youth-quotas (16-25-year-olds) to advisory bodies.


Things the European Parliament should prioritise after the elections:

1. Address the worsening situations on Europe’s borders (Ukraine, Syria) through further peace talks with all parties.

2. Continue with and develop the Youth Guarantee scheme. I see this as the beginning of solving the pan-European issue of youth unemployment ,but I still question whether the €80 million allocated to Ireland is enough.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.