What is Comhairle na nÓg?
The UNCRC - Art 12 says children & young people have the right to be heard. In Ireland, the National Children’s Strategy (2000) further stated ‘Children will have a voice in matters which affect them and their views will be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity’. This happens at local level in each county through the local authority and the establishment of a local youth council (Comhairle na nog)
One of the objectives of the Tipperary Comhairle is to ensure that the children and young people are given the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services policies, engage and understand the process and to ‘have a voice’. Comhairle na nÓg is for young people under the age of 18 and who have no other voting mechanism to have their voice heard, Comhairle na nÓg is designed to enable young people to have a voice on the services, policies and issues that affect them in their local area. "YOUNG VOICES, LOCAL ISSUES" . In order to mirror the adult structure in Tipperary, there are 40 Young People on the Tipperary Comhairle, coming from all across the county.
Tipperary County Council are responsible for the county comhairle and have partnered with Youth work Tipperary to manage the co-ordination and day to day running of Comhairle na nÓg, with a youth worker in place to support the young people in their work. The Local Authority are the link to decision makers within the Local Authority and are involved in order to ensure the young people’s views are listened to and have influence. Tipperary County Council also play a key role in creating awareness about Comhairle work and the topics.
What is the Comhairle AGM?
Every Comhairle na nÓg holds an Annual General Meeting in the Autumn/Winter, to which children and young people are invited from local schools and youth groups. Usually we have over 100 young people attend the Tipp AGM day. At the AGM, the young people discuss the current topic the Comhairle are working on and pick the topics of most importance to them to work on in the following year. The day involves group work, discussions, networking and information sharing. There is also an opportunity for interested attendees to be elected to Tipperary Comhairle na nÓg Committee for the following 2 year cycle. This young members are responsible for working on the topics of the Comhairle for that year and being the consultative forum that works with decision-makers for example: County Council itself, TETB, CYSPC, local agencies of relevance and the Department itself to name a few. A permanent action which is voted on at every AGM is Mental health which young people in Tipperary continue to vote in as their number one issue every year. To this end a dedicated group work on this topic every year to create ongoing awareness of youth mental health & wellbeing.