Galway students speak out on social issues

Students from CEIST Schools in Galway were among more than 600 teenagers who presented their ideas and plans for tackling some of society's most pressing social issues at the recent Young Social Innovators Speak Out event in Galway's Black Box Theatre. 

Students from St Brigid's College, Tuam, Presentation College, Tuam, Ard Scoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe and St. Paul's Secondary School, Oughterard were attending the fourth of this year's Speak Outs event , an annual series of events for participants in Ireland's largest civic action programme for young people.

Throughout March, some 5,500 young people were invited to similar Speak Out events in Cork, Donegal, Dublin and Galway.  Sixty projects will be short-listed for the tenth Young Social Innovators Annual Showcase which takes place in Dublin in May.  The winning project team will receive a grant towards the further development of their project.

Speaking at the event, which was supported by Galway City Council, Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, Co-founder and Chairperson, Young Social Innovators, congratulated the young people present on the fresh approaches they had offered to a range of social issues including mental health, teenage pregnancy, social inclusion and youth facilities.


Pictured above back row LtoR, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Chairperson, Young Social Innovators, Shauna Byrne and Aedin McHugh. Front Row: Eimear Glavin, Niamh McNelis and Sarah Healy, Presentation College, Tuam at the latest in the Young Social Innovators Speak Outs series in Galway.

Rachel Collier, Co-founder and Chief Executive, Young Social Innovators, said that despite the challenging economic environment, the Young Social Innovators programme was continuing to expand.

"Since it began ten years ago, some 35,000 teenagers have undertaken community based projects.  They have established youth cafés, social inclusion and educational initiatives for the elderly and disabled, road safety, bullying and alcohol abuse.

The Speak Outs are a valuable opportunity for communities to learn about and support the social action initiatives that are taking place in their areas."

Funded through sponsorship, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs is the main sponsor of Young Social Innovators.  Additional support is received from the Department of Education and Skills, the HSE, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Irish Aid, and KPMG.  Other partners include the Irish Sisters of Charity, Crisis Pregnancy Agency and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.