Laois Nationalist — Laois Youth Council looks back on a very successful year

By Joe Barrett

Members of Laois Comhairle na nÓg took stock of a very successful year at its AGM at the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise on Tuesday 25th October.

Comhairle na nÓg are youth councils in 31 counties of Ireland. They allow young people to get involved and have their voices heard at the local level regarding the services and policies that concern them.

In the weeks leading up to the event, Laois Comhairle members prepared PowerPoint presentations and videos to showcase all they have been involved with throughout the year.

Laois Comhairle na nÓg Coordinator Niamh Kavanagh and President Lauren Traynor welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Several speakers spoke at the day-long event, including Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council cllr Thomasina Connell and Netflix Glow Up TV series runner-up, makeup artist James Mac Inerney.

Mr. Mac Inerney spoke about positive mental health, his experiences and answered questions from those present.

The county’s representative on the Comhairle na nÓg national executive, Lucy Doyle, spoke about her role at the national level.

Laois Comhairle na nÓg’s PRO Darragh Prendergast also made a presentation.

Members had the opportunity in an open discussion forum to talk about local issues and identify solutions to problems that affect them.

Niamh Dowler and Deirdre Phelan, representatives of Children and Youth Services Committees (CYPSC), also spoke about its new website open up which provides information on all local services around Laois and Offaly in one easily accessible online platform.

Ben Cambell discussed the topic of positive mental health.

Members participated in a World Café where they discussed ideas and found solutions.

Voting on next year’s topic also took place and the topic chosen was Discrimination in Laois.

Members also expressed their thanks to all the groups and organizations that have helped and supported them throughout the past year including: Rose Doolin and Anne Maire Kirrane of Laois County Council, Laois Traveler Action Group, Portlaoise Family Resource Centre, Youth Work Ireland Laois, Mountmellick and Portlaoise Youth Reach, Community gardaí, County Councilors Thomasina Connell and Padraig Fleming CYPSC, Mountmellick Community School, Clonaslee Community School, Coláiste Íosagáin Portarlington, Friends First Credit Union Portlaoise, Portlaoise College, Dunamase College , Scoil Christ Rí, Saint Mary CBS, Heywood Community School, Saint Fergal’s Rathdowney, Mountrath Community School and Mark O’Dwyer, the Attendance Coordinator.