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Report by Young People aims to influence Brexit

A report on the views, hopes and fears of young people, North and South, will be presented to members of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly at its next meeting to be held in Sligo shortly.

The report It’s Our Brexit Too: Children’s Rights, Children’s Voices is the outcome of a unique cross-border conference hosted by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People. This conference was organised and led by a cross-border Steering Group of young people.  

The report represents the views of 120 young people from both sides of the island who came together to explore how Brexit could affect them.  It outlines considerations and protections that should feed into decisions on areas such as education, child protection, freedom of movement, family life and health.

A group of young people will hand the report to Brexit MPs and officials in Westminster today. They will meet Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Committee for Exiting the EU, and will present to the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Better Brexit for Children and Young People.

The conference in Newry last November was organised and led by a steering group of young people from across Ireland, North and South.  Tánaiste Simon Coveney participated in the conference via video link, and it was attended by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for NI Chloe Smyth MP, Mairead McGuinness MEP, Jim Nicholson MEP and senior officials from both sides of the island.

Alex, a Brexit Youth Steering Group member said: “We will be the first generation to live with the full impact of the Brexit decision yet we did not get the opportunity to vote on this.

“It was clear at the event that young people felt there had not been enough consideration about the realities of our lives and how decisions about the Common Travel Area, the border or the loss of EU Funding programmes could have an impact on our lives now, and far into the future. We look forward to discussing the areas raised by young people with key decision makers at Westminster.”

Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children and Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People will jointly present the findings of the report to members of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly at its forthcoming meeting in Sligo.  

Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children in Ireland said: “The young people have a keen awareness of the issues that could impact on their lives, from ensuring that ambulances are not delayed when needing to cross the border, to the disruption to family life where separated parents are living either side of the border.

“Young people wanted assurance that they could continue to attend schools unhindered on a cross border basis, and that no child should have to move school because of Brexit. They were also concerned about continued co-operation in the area of child protection.”

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said: “Young people have real concerns that issues central to their lives and future opportunities could be unintentionally impacted.

“I hope this report will influence discussions and planning for Brexit and that all the key players, both in the UK and in the ‘European 27’ will take on board the voices of this most important cohort of society when determining the final look of a post Brexit world.”

Read the full Report It’s Our Brexit Too, Children’s Rights, Children’s Voices and the Summary Report here.



Niamh Connolly, Communications Manager, Ombudsman for Children’s Office (01) 865 6800 or 087 1484173

Patrice Morris, Communications and Engagement Officer, NICCY 028 9031 1616


Notes for Editors:

  • The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is a human rights institution that promotes the rights and welfare of young people under 18 years of age living in Ireland. The OCO investigates complaints about children and services provided by public organisations. For further information visit
  • The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was established in 2003 by the Assembly and Parliament to: “safeguard and promote the rights and best interests of children and young people”. For further information visit