Children’s rally in Dublin calls for action on homelessness, climate

Primary schools gather in Temple Bar to demand that adults listen to children

Hana Babye, Summer Rice and Leah Dayman, all from Presentation Primary George’s Hill school, took part in the Children’s Rally on Friday in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Irish Times

Hana Babye, Summer Rice and Leah Dayman, all from Presentation Primary George’s Hill school, took part in the Children’s Rally on Friday in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/ The Irish Times

 

Dozens of children from primary schools across Dublin gathered in Temple Bar’s Meeting House square on Friday morning demanding adults listen to what they have to say.

They spoke of their concerns for the future of the planet and the need for the Government to do more to tackle the problem of homelessness.

They demanded more action be taken locally and globally to address problems faced by children all over the world including forced labour, abuse and the absence of clean drinking water.

They also demanded the right to be able to play and to create freely.

The Children’s Rally was organised by the Ark in Temple Bar, which has been working with schools in the city through a series of creative and rights-based workshops.

Under its guidance, children attending the event made banners, wrote a special rallying song and highlighted key issues they wanted Ireland’s adults to address in a more effective fashion.

“This is one of the key moments of this weekend’s Right Here Right Now festival and it was born out of the idea that children have a right to art and to culture and they have a right to be heard,” said the Ark’s director Aideen Howard.

Ready to rally

She said she had been slightly taken aback by just how ready to rally the children had been and how determined they were to have their voices heard.

“Homelessness and the need to do something about it has been a re-occurring theme in the build up to the rally and the children have also been very keen to highlight the climate crisis,” Ms Howard said.

They also want it to be known that they have a right to play, she said.

“But for me the key thing that has come out of this has been their sense of justice, it is almost as if that sense of justice is the human starting point and maybe it’s something people start to lose as they become adults.”

There was no sign that Omar Junior (9) and Jayden Byrne (10) from St Enda’s national school on Whitefriar Street in Dublin were losing their sense of justice.

“We are doing this for children’s rights. We want adults to stop littering and we want the children to have the right to express themselves,” Omar said as Jayden nodded by his side.

“We need a cleaner environment because we are the next generation and people should take care of the planet,” Jayden added. “I think adults should definitely listen to kids because we could have important things to say and we need to be heard.”

Yvie Kenny is in fifth class in the D7 Educate Together in Grangegorman and was acting as MC of the rally.

“What I think is important is clean water and shelter for everyone and I think it is very important that children should be kept safe from abuse,” she told The Irish Times. “We are determined to keep shouting and to keep screaming until adults really listen to us. Eventually they will listen and some are already starting to cop on.”

The Right Here Right Now Festival of Children takes place in the Ark and other Dublin venues until Sunday.