Politicians faced pupils yesterday (10 April 2019) at Lagan College, Belfast, where they were questioned on key issues chosen by the young people. Timed to raise awareness of the local government elections in May and run exactly 21 years after the publication of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the event brought political representatives of five parties and the Chief Executive of the NI Local Government Association (NILGA) to meet around 50 students from years 11-14 at the school.
The morning conference was hosted by Lagan College with the support of the IEF and was chaired by broadcaster and journalist Jim Fitzpatrick. It followed the successful Integrated AlumNI ListenUP! event in Belfast last November which united party representatives with young people from a range of schools and youth organisations.
The guests joined groups of young people for round-table discussions on climate change, mental health support and community divisions and then formed a panel to answer direct questions from the audience of students.
The guests at the Lagan College event were Kellie Armstrong (Alliance Party) Clare Bailey (Green Party) Colm Gildernew (Sinn Fein) John Kyle (Progressive Unionist Party), Mike Nesbitt (Ulster Unionist Party) and Derek McCallan (NILGA).
The young people challenged the panel on the Brexit process and on the Stormont stalemate before participating in an electronic poll which found that 95% would, if they could, use the opportunity to vote in the local council elections on 02 May.
The ListenUP! report can be read here.
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