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Children & young people voting this week in the Big Ballot

  • Tens of thousands of young people nationally are casting vote
  • Results will be announced on November 20th

Children and young people from more than 1,000 schools and training centres throughout the country are this week voting on issues which are important to them and which they would like the Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, to work on over the coming years.

This vote is part of the Big Ballot, a nationwide process of consultation with children and young people organised by the Ombudsman for Children. Between November 5th and 9th, children at schools and training centres participating in the Big Ballot will vote on five key issues of concern to young people.

The issues voted on by children and young people will be worked on by the Ombudsman for Children and her team over the coming years. The results from this vote will be announced on Universal Children’s Day (November 20th) at the Big Ballot Count Event in City Hall, Dublin. Nationally, tens of thousands are taking part in the Big Ballot, with over 1,000 primary, post-primary schools, Youthreach centres and Senior Traveller Training centres involved in the project.

Commenting today (Wednesday) on the ongoing nationwide vote, Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan stated:

“From my visits to schools and centres across the country last month, and from the research that my office has commissioned, I know that children and young people want and need to have their voices heard.

“Many are concerned that when they speak they are not listened to. Some have raised the need for youth-friendly mental health services, whilst others described the lack of appropriate support for families as a major problem. Children and young people with additional needs also highlighted shortcomings in support and facilities for them. For many of the children that I met, issues relating to education are among the most pressing that they believe need to be addressed.

“Acknowledging the right of children and young people to have their views taken into account is what the Big Ballot is all about. The Big Ballot is an unprecedented attempt to afford an opportunity to children and young people to have their say about the issues that affect their lives. It gives them the chance to have a direct input into the work of my office, guiding my priorities and work plan for the years ahead.

“This week’s vote is critical. Children and young people from every county in Ireland have been working with special resource materials and DVDs designed to explore and understand the issues in advance of the vote. Now, the time has come for them to have their say.

“I also want to send a message of thanks to all of the schools and training centres who are taking part in the Big Ballot, and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the children and young people who participated, and their teachers, at City Hall on November 20th.”


Note to Editors regarding the Big Ballot process:

Some of the most pressing issues of concern to children and young people were identified as part of a large research project, undertaken by Dr Ursula Kilkelly of UCC and commissioned by the Ombudsman for Children, which was published earlier this year.

Following this research, 150 young people shortlisted five key issues of concern:

  • Education
  • Having a Voice
  • Play and Recreation
  • Family and Care
  • Health, Wealth and Material Well-being.

In recent months, children and young people in participating schools throughout the country have been working with specially commissioned educational resource materials and DVDs designed to help them understand these five issues. This week, children and young people will vote on these issues, and the result of this vote will be announced on November 20th.