The Ombudsman for Children urges Irish kids to have their say about the issues that matter to them 1 week ago

The Ombudsman for Children urges Irish kids to have their say about the issues that matter to them

"An opportunity for children to tell their own stories, to share their views and to have their say."

Earlier this week, the Ombudsman for Children announced Child Talks 2021 – an annual event, now in its fourth year – where children and young people up to age 18 are given a platform to talk about the issues that matter most to them.

This year’s theme? ‘My Hopes for the Future.’

And now, the Ombudsman for Children's office is inviting children from all over Ireland to apply to take part in this year’s event, which is due to take place on November 19th – a date selected to tie in with World Children’s Day.

Child Talks 2021 will be a hybrid online-physical event streaming live from the RDS in Dublin, and it will be an 'opportunity for children to tell their own stories, to share their views and to have their say.'

Since the Child Talks events began back in 2018, young people from all over Ireland have talked about lots of different issues – from school, disability, period poverty, culture, sexuality, family and lots more.

The best bit? It is completely up to the speakers what issues they want to talk about.

Speaking on the importance of elevating children’s voices in today's Ireland, Dr. Niall Muldoon said:

“The past 18 months have highlighted the importance of hearing children’s voices and their concerns. Child Talks gives us a real insight into the problems and issues children are facing and helps us to get a better understanding of their world. At a time where children’s voices have often been forgotten, Child Talks gives young people a unique platform to share their story, vision, and hopes for the future."

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Muldoon, who is the second Ombudsman for Children since the office was established back in 2004, continues:

“We want to hear from children from all over the country and from all backgrounds. We also want to hear from children with disabilities or those who may need additional supports. There is no need to worry if you have never spoken in public, we will help you and work with you."

“Child Talks has changed over the past four years, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the message and values have remained the same. Child Talks gives our speakers the confidence and courage to speak up about the issues that matter to them and find the value in their voice.”

Katherine Amusan from Co. Dublin who took part in Child Talks 2020, encouraged children and young people to send in their application:

“My story last year was about my hair and coming to terms with my identity. My culture is something to be proud of and I spoke last year about how I don’t need to separate my African culture from being born and raised in Ireland. Participating in Child Talks and getting to tell my story was a very liberating experience and it really grew my confidence."

Previous participant Emer Neville from Co. Tipperary said:

“I loved taking part last year and would encourage any young person to apply. Go for it. It is an opportunity that you won’t forget. The whole team at the OCO are so helpful and encouraging so don’t hold yourself back. Everyone has an interesting story to tell and you will get all the help that you need. Even if you only have a concept or a small idea they will help you to grow it and develop it. I have made some great friends from taking part and would recommend it to anyone.”

To take part or find out more email communications@oco.ie, send a voicenote to 0871029039 or visit www.oco.ie

Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday August 11th.