Belfast Telegraph

Young people make their voices heard at Stormont

by Fiona Rutherford

Over 300 Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK have been gathering at Stormont this week.

The 11-18 year olds were addressed by Francie Molloy, Deputy Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and 15-year-old Member of Youth Parliament, Aaron Meredith, from south Belfast, amongst others.

This is the first time the UK Youth Parliament has held its annual sitting in Northern Ireland. The four day event has seen debates on the environment, health, crime and education. Other issues have included lowering the voting age to 16 and transport provision for young people.

Alex Huston, 16, from Belfast, said: “This time last week the media was full of stories of young people rioting here. This week we’ve had 300 young people at Stormont discussing politics and issues affecting them.

“It has been an incredible experience and shows how important it is that young people get involved in politics.”

Elizabeth Harker, 13, from Poole, Dorset, commented: “The visit to Stormont was amazing and a fantastic experience to hear from speakers who gave us truly inspirational messages.

“Young people gaining more understanding of politics is so valuable and it’s such an honour to have been given that opportunity.”

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