Update on Policy Issues for those in Youth Work in Ireland 
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Policy Brief

December 2016

Alcohol Legislation   


Three of Ireland’s leading children’s charities, Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance and the ISPCC joined forces recently to express disappointment at the postponement of the debate on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. This comes in the wake of comments in the Seanad by Nicola Sturgeon, MSP, First Minister of Scotland in relation to the introduction of minimum unit pricing on alcohol already implemented in Scotland, and now up for debate here in Ireland in this Bill.
The three organisations are supporting the passage of this Bill from the perspective of children’s rights, child protection and public health. Indeed, the group is calling for further strengthening of the Bill in relation to children, particularly in the areas of online advertising of alcohol products and a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport on a phased basis
Press Release


Youth Work Ireland Conference

Hundreds of young people, volunteers and youth workers gathered in late October in Dublin Castle to examine how youth work and youth projects contribute to improving the mental health and well-being of young people. Youth Work Ireland’s Well-Being 2016 annual conference was opened by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone and was led by young MCs and a young people’s well-being squad”. The event also heard from Minister of State for Mental Health Helen Mc Entee along with Dr. Fergus Heffernan a leading psychologist and media commentator.
Other issues covered were anxiety, counselling, traveller wellbeing and much more. The event also featured music and art exhibitions along with a wellbeing hub and even some massage and yoga! Through exhibitions, presentations, displays, showcases, demonstrations and workshops delegates learnt inspirational and practical skills they can take back to their youth groups to support young people’s mental wellbeing.
Conference Home Page
DCYA Announcement


Parliamentary Questions

Mental Health Funding
North South Discussions on Alcohol Pricing
TusLa Funding
Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (Debate)  


Young People at the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly 

The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly promotes co-operation between political representatives in Britain and Ireland for the benefit of the people they represent. It seeks to build on the close relationships established in recent years between politicians throughout Britain and Ireland On November 4th 2016, young people from Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, came together for a weekend in Dublin, to debate issues affecting young people across the five nations and jurisdictions. On the Sunday 6th November, a Mock Parliament was held, where young people voted to agree on a shared set of policy calls to BIPA Parliamentarians on youth issues and Brexit. The young people of the BIPA Youth Symposium called upon Parliamentarians to ensure that their issues were responded to in their home nations and jurisdictions
Young People’s Calls at the British and Irish Parliamentary Assembly

ERASMUS+ Mid-term Review

The Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020) has integrated all previously existing programmes in the domains of Education, Training, Youth and Sport, and includes an international dimension that is funded by the different external action instruments. The programme is currently being subjected to a mid-term review. An impact assessment was conducted when the Commission proposed the Erasmus+ programme. This report provided the analysis and arguments for establishing the integrated programme and reasoning for discontinuation of some actions under the old programmes.
A previous seminar organised by the European Parliaments S&D Group found the strengths of the programme to be the increased budget, more opportunities, the number of events as well as the number of beneficiaries and stronger possibilities for education and cross border mobility. Its weaknesses were the lack of user friendliness not only in terms of IT but also when it comes to the complexity of the e-forms and transparent information allocated budgets and procedures as well as evaluation and feedback systems. and aspects of the decentralisation. The EPP, in a new Parliament report, says the Erasmus+ suite of education programs needs more money, and should be made available free to students on lower incomes. The report also complained that the forms for applying for Erasmus funds are more complicated than they should be and need to be redone by the end of 2017
Evaluation Roadmap

Concern/NYCI Youth Summit on Migration

Up to 200 young people from around Ireland met at a Youth Summit in Blackhall Place, on November 17th to look at the issue of migration. Organised by Concern Worldwide and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), the event followed on from the UN agreement last year where 193 world leaders committed to 17 global goals (known as the Sustainable Development Goals or ‘SDGs’) to end extreme poverty; fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change by 2030.
Those attending heard from young people about their personal experiences; as well as from Lieutenant Cagney of the Irish Naval Services who recently served on board L.É. ROISIN which was deployed to the Mediterranean earlier this year and involved with the rescue of over 2,300 persons north of the Libyan coastline and from UN Youth Delegate, Samantha O’Brien O’Reilly on her experience of addressing the United Nations and attending the UN migration summit. They also had the opportunity to meet people and organisations taking action on the issue of migration and to bring away ideas for their own communities, schools and organisations.
The Summit 


Comhairle Showcase 2016

The Comhairle na nÓg Showcase took place on Thursday November 24th 2016 in Croke Park. The purpose of this event is to present the work and topics each Comhairle has been working on over the past two years or more, and to showcase this work to relevant decision makers. Each Comhairle had their own individual stand with brightly decorated display boards. The day was broken into four distinct parts: the showcase session in the morning, followed by the opening ceremony, where two young people from Dublin City and Mayo Comhairle na nÓg spoke about the impact of Comhairle, both personally and on their community. After lunch there was a workshop session, followed by a celebratory closing ceremony. The facilitation at workshops was carried out by young people: one at each of the 45 workshop tables.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone gave a moving and inspirational address at the opening ceremony and was greeted by a standing ovation. The organisers were delighted to show off to her and all participants their new video showcasing the work of each Comhairle from all over the country.
The 2016 Showcase Website


North South Dialogue on Brexit


The Brexit vote has raised several issues on the Island of Ireland, many of these will impact on future generations. The Government has agreed that there will be an all-island Civic Dialogue on Brexit, the initial meeting was hosted by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade on 2 November in Dublin. This is to allow for the widest possible conversation on the implications of the UK referendum result for Ireland, North and South and for North/South relations.
This event provided an opportunity to hear the voices of the people affected by the vote, both directly and through their representative groups. It also provided an opportunity to map the challenges presented by Brexit and how they might impact on different elements of society and the economy on an all-island basis. The importance of involving young people in these deliberations cannot be underestimated. Patrick Burke, CEO of Youth Work Ireland has been nominated by the Government as a member of the civic dialogue body and Youth Work Ireland will seek to further involve young people in the process.
North South Dialogue on Brexit
Minister Zappone at the British Irish Ministerial

Citizen’s Assembly 

The issue of abortion and some left-over issues form the previous constitutional convention have been passed to a new “Citizen’s Assembly”. The 99 members of the Citizens’ Assembly were chosen by research company Red C which says they are representative of age, gender and region based on data from the 2011 census. A list of the members of the Assembly with their names and home counties shows that it is made up of 52 women and 48 men. Members of the Assembly are not prohibited from speaking to the media but journalists were among those who were excluded from the selection process. Individuals who were involved with advocacy groups on any of the issues to be discussed were also prohibited from being part of the Assembly.
Justice Mary Laffoy who is the chairperson of the assembly has called on the voices of Irish people living abroad and young people to be heard in its deliberations as there are no formalised structures for this, saying "The submissions are integral to the work of the Assembly and I would encourage people to have their voices heard, in particular the diaspora and young people under 18 years of age, who are not directly represented in the Assembly membership”
The Citizen’s  Assembly Website
Justice Mary Laffoy in the Independent


Spun Out Youth Employability Info Hub  

An innovative new tool to point young jobseekers in the direction of new learning and work opportunities has been launched by Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar. ‘Compass’ is powered by hundreds of information factsheets and employment support service listings created by youth information website
It will serve as a one-stop-shop for young people seeking information about education and employment including current opportunities, how to apply for social welfare supports, applying for jobs, available training and education schemes, workplace rights and new business grants for young entrepreneurs. The new tool will ask young people to filter their employment information needs based on a number of factors including their employment status, location, educational attainment level, age, and barriers to employment.
SpunOut Release


Engage, Inform, Empower   

Three Europe wide youth organisations with a strong interest in European mobility and the EU Youth Strategy have come together to publish recommendations based on their experience. The position paper entitled Engage, Inform, Empower was produced by the European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA) the EU Network of Youth Information providers (Eurodesk) and the European Youth Card Association (EYCA).
The report covers areas such as providing feee and accurate information for young people, ensuring a comprehensive and integrated approach, prioritising media literacy and critical thinking, using quality outreach to engage young people, making mobility accessible to all, enhancing youth autonomy, re-enforcing the services offered by youth information.
The Submission

Council of Europe on Youth Work

The Council of Europe is an international organisation focused on promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, and covers approximately 820 million people. The Youth Department is part of the Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation of the Council of Europe. The Department elaborates guidelines, programmes and legal instruments for the development of coherent and effective youth policies at local, national and European levels. It provides funding and educational support for international youth activities aiming at the promotion of youth citizenship, youth mobility and the value of human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism. It seeks to bring together and disseminate expertise and knowledge about the life situations, aspirations and ways of expression of young Europeans.
The Council of Europe has been working for some time on a draft recommendation on youth work. Its main recommendations include, safeguarding the further development of youth work in an integrated fashion and ensuring equal access as well as establishing a coherent and flexible competency based framework for the education of youth workers.
Council of Europe Youth Work Page
ECYC on the work of the Council of Europe

Galway AMACH! Centre


The first LGBT resource centre has opened in the West of Ireland. The AMACH service is based in Galway city and will operate as a meeting point for support groups. AMACH! is volunteer run organisation which represents and advocates on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Galway city and county.
AMACH! LGBT Galway Ltd. aims to reflect equally the diversity within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community by encouraging positive participation from the community. They actively advocate to achieve a solid and safe support structure for the LGBT community in Galway. They also aim to provide awareness, educational and training events and workshops and endeavour to support and promote a socially inclusive society.
RTE News
AMACH! Online


Action Plan for Education   

In September 2016 The Department of Education and Skills published its Action Plan for Education 2016-2019. According to the Strategy, education and training has been central to Ireland’s transformation over recent decades. They have played a very significant role in helping Ireland weather the exceptional economic crash. They will be central to the countries  ambitions as a nation (economic, cultural, scientific and social) over the coming years. They will allow Ireland  to lead in innovation and help us to achieve social inclusion.

The document sets out five high level goals to guide the education system over the period. These are, Improving the situation of learners, improving the situation of those who are educationally disadvantaged and with special needs, supporting improvement amongst those delivering education programmes, building bridges to wider community and  improving planning and support services.

The Action Plan

Departmental Press Release


The Annual Service Plan of the ETB   

The Annual Service Plan is a key planning document for each ETBI under the 2013 Act. It is provided for under Section 47of the Act. Under this section the CEO drafts a plan after receiving the expenditure ceiling from the Department. The plan should set out the services the ETB will provide and the costs of these. The plan has to be adopted by March 1st. The Minister (effectively the Dept of Education) has powers to proscribe the format and type of plan and amend, adjust, change or limit it.
The ETBs also have functions related to youth stated in the 2013 Act namely S. 10.1 (j) to “support the provision, coordination, administration and assessment of youth work services in its functional area and provide such information as may be requested by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in relation to such support” These plans are important documents for those involved in education, training and youth work in Ireland and preparation will no doubt be in full swing at the beginning of 2017.  
The ETB Act 2013


Ombudsman for Children hosts LetItGlow for Mental Health

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, recently hosted LetItGlow, an evening of music, drama and song by young people and for young people, to celebrate the movement that is underway to promote mental health awareness. Speaking following the event held at the Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dr Muldoon said “Although progress has been made in raising awareness of mental health issues, there are still young people who are afraid to speak out and who feel nobody will understand what they are going through. There are also many adults who are afraid to ask if a child is ok, in many cases because they are unsure what will happen next – what else they can offer”.
The Ombudsman also believes progress must be made now in providing the necessary services for the children and young people who have been brave enough to speak out. “There are currently major gaps and inconsistencies in the provision of services and that must be remedied. As Ombudsman for Children, I will use all of the statutory powers of my Office to hold Government to account in the provision of those services for children and young people with mental health difficulties”. 

The Ombudsman’s Statement


Tackling Youth Crime   

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. Katherine Zappone, T.D., and Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality David Stanton, T.D., recently jointly published a progress report on ‘Tackling Youth Crime' the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018. The Report outlines the progress made in 2014 and 2015 in implementing the Action Plan.

The Action Plan, which was launched in April 2014, focuses on children and young people who require targeted, strategic attention because their behaviour has led to their involvement in the youth justice system. The Action Plan includes a number of specific goals and objectives targeted at delivering better outcomes for children who get into trouble with the law, and to reduce crime and make communities safer.
The Report


State saves €2.20 for every €1 spent on youth work  - NYCI Conference  

Too much of the excellent work undertaken by youth organisations with young people is unseen and unheard by politicians, policymakers and the public in general. That was the message emerging from the National Youth Council of Ireland’s annual conference entitled Talking Cents which took place in Dublin Castle on December 12th. The event looked at increasing support and recognition for young people and those working with them.
The conference also included speakers from the public sector looking at  trends in funding initiatives, as well as panellists from A&L Goodbody, Philanthropy Ireland and the Irish Youth Foundation answering questions and highlighting the pitfalls to avoid; and a debate on the ethics of fundraising. The ‘Youth Work Changes lives’ campaign will be rolled out over the next three years.
Press Release











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