Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland students fighting to have voices heard on Brexit

By Mark Bain

A group of local young people have signed up to a UK-wide campaign calling for their voices to he heard on Brexit.

They want the chance to have an informed say on whatever deal is finally brokered by the UK Government to leave the European Union.

The group met up for the first time yesterday in Belfast.

The campaign by Our Future Our Choice (OFOC) has been gathering momentum in cities across the UK.

They will now spend the next few weeks engaging with schools and colleges and pressuring political groups to get their message across.

Pearse Smith (17), from west Belfast, signed up for the campaign and said his interest in politics was cultivated through youth groups. "I attended Brexit conferences and even went to Brussels to present reports from young people, so when I heard the Children's Commissioner was looking for people like me to get involved in OFOC I was excited that I might actually have a role to play in making a difference," he said.

"I know we can't go back on the referendum decision, but we do need the knowledge which was denied to voters. No one knew what they were voting for.

"This is a chance to right some wrongs, clear up the mess and give the people of the UK the opportunity to make an informed decision."

Doire Finn (23) lives in Newry and said the border issue in particular moved her to join the group.

"I studied international politics at Queen's so I've always had an interest, and because I live right on the border the effect of Brexit is even more important to me," she said.

"I saw this as a great opportunity to have our voices heard. Millions of lives are going to be affected and I think we have a right to know what deal is on the table.

"That's when we should have the opportunity to decide on it for ourselves."

Femi Oluwole from OFOC was in Belfast to meet the group.

He said: "At OFOC we believe the voices of young people should be heard.

"We want more control over our lives, a better NHS and the country to improve.

"We do need change but most young people feel staying in the EU is the right thing to do.

"This is about creating a chance to have a final say."

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