‘Change is always made because young people make older people very uncomfortable, that’s your job and I would encourage you to do that to us.’ SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP advised students in North South Post Primary Schools Civic Action programme
25/3/21: SDLP Leader & MP for Foyle Colum Eastwood joined students in an online forum today to address their concerns in the areas of unity, Brexit, Covid-19, identity and mental health. The meeting was the second in the series of engagements between the students of Ballyclare High School and Dominican College in Co. Antrim, Loreto Community School, Co. Donegal and Luttrellstown Community College, Dublin with politicians, north and south of the border, as part of the Glencree/Politics in Action North South Post Primary School Civic Action Programme.
Speaking to the senior students about their impact for the future Mr Eastwood said: ‘Just having the absence of violence isn’t good enough. You should never have to leave your own community to find a university place or to find a job, you should never feel there are barriers within our society that can’t be broken down and you should never be told that this is good enough because it isn’t. I’m not prepared to accept what we have and I don’t think you should either. Change is always made because young people make older people very uncomfortable, that’s your job and I would encourage you to do that to us.’
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood talks to students as part of the North South Post Primary Schools Civic Action Programme.
This event was facilitated by David McCann, Politics in Action, and developed in collaboration with the students, teachers and Principals from the participating schools with the support of Politics in Action and Glencree. It follows an online meeting earlier this month between the students and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar. A recording of the event is available to view here.
In the next meeting in the series, the students will talk with Mike Nesbitt, MLA, Former Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
About the North South Post Primary Schools Civic Action Programme
An initiative of Glencree and Politics in Action, the North South Post Primary Schools Civic Action Programme promotes dialogue and exchanges between senior students from different backgrounds north and south of the border on issues of mutual concern and so they can learn about each other’s traditions, identities, commonalities and differences. It also provides opportunities for engagement with politicians and leaders in civil society to foster awareness and participation in politics and leadership for the future.
Funded by the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs and supported by the Department of Education, the programme, which is now in it’s second phase, relates to part of the Irish Government’s commitment set out in the policy document ‘New Decade, New Approach’ , the agreement to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland (Jan 2020) to: “Build(ing) on the success of the recent pilot programme of bringing pupils together – from schools North and South of the Border, from Nationalist and Unionist communities, and from the Integrated Schools sector – to meet, discuss issues of mutual concern and visit sites of significant shared historic relevance, we will expand the scheme over the lifetime of the next Government with a target of achieving 100 such cross border engagements per annum within a 5 year programme.”
The objectives of the programme are to:
Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation works with people who have been impacted by conflict including victims/survivors, combatants and marginalised minorities regardless of generation and gender, and with the stakeholders who share our vision of sustainable peace, from community leaders to politicians, diplomats to faith groups. Our Peace Education and Young Adult work connects and engages students and young adults on a cross border, north-south basis. For further information www.glencree.ie; Twitter & Facebook @Glencree Centre, #Glencree4peace.
Politics in Action (PIA) aims to prepare young people for the challenges of leadership in whichever career or profession they chose to follow. We will help them learn how to listen to debates as well as contribute to discussions, to demonstrate respect for those who hold opposing views and to develop the key skills necessary to reach a mutually beneficial solution. This year we have a “New Normal” theme, which asks pupils to look at issues that can be improved, and help Northern Ireland recover after the pandemic. For further information www.politicsinaction.org.