Around the world, young people don’t really have the best reputation for turning out to vote. Elections and referendums are vital opportunities for a population to voice their approval of, or disagreement with, what’s going on in a country. While Ireland’ overall turnout figures are pretty darn good in an international context, it’s been a more difficult battle to get younger generations to have their say on such important issues. That said, it’s a situation that’s very gradually improving.
If you’re over 18 and are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, you’re eligible to vote in any referendums and elections that take place here. However, figures released by the National Youth Council of Ireland earlier this year showed that 30% of 18-25 year-olds aren’t even registered to vote. Worse still, when you look at the 18-21 age group, the figure jumps up to 43%- that’s nearly half of potential voters under 21 who have absolutely no say in how their country is governed.
As part of National Voter Registration Day, SpunOut.ie, in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland, are launching a campaign to get as many young people registered to vote in next year’s referendums as possible ahead of the November 25th deadline. We’ll talk you through all the details on the registration form, and we’ll even send it off for you when you’re finished, as well as providing you with helpful voting info ahead of polling days. If you’d like to learn more about the campaign, just click here and get registering!
Ever heard of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps? Every year, many young Irish people between the ages of 10 and 16 join the ranks of the voluntary organisation as Cadets.
These Cadets become actively involved in the community helping vulnerable groups like the elderly and people with disabilities, but they're also trained in basic like saving skills including First Aid, CPR and Home Nursing.
Having those skills can make a huge difference to their own lives too. Just ask 16-year-old Ballinrobe girl Eimear Morrin. She used them to save her mother's life.
Eimear was at home and came downstairs to discover her mother lying unconscious in the kitchen. She'd had a brain aneurysm and wasn't in a good way but, thanks to her daughter's quick thinking, she survived.
"I knew straight away to open her airways and checked her pulse and we were able to perform CPR, which I had learned through the training", she explains. "Never underestimate the value of getting the Order of Malta."
Eimear is just one of the many Cadets who've gained invaluable skills through the Order of Malta training and she's now become something of a mascot for their organisation. Her story has been entered into the Better Together video awards in the hopes of raising awareness about what the organisation does and encouraging more young people to follow in her footsteps.
You can vote for her story here.
For more information on The Order of Malta be sure to check out their official website.
If you’ve got an interest in highlighting young people’s mental health-related issues through film, you’ve got exactly three months to perfect your masterpiece for the CAST 2014/5 Film Festival.
Submissions for completed projects close on January 15, 2015, so now’s the perfect time to encourage your mates from school, college or the youth club to get filming! According to the organisers, the festival is a “call to action” for youth groups, and they want to get schools and youth organisations to produce films that “shed light on a social issue”, and offer potential solutions to the issue mentioned.
The application criteria are pretty broad, which means that your film can be a documentary, a work of fiction, or a “visually creative film” as you see fit. It should look to highlight relevant resources available in your local area, and it must:
The event itself is great fun, and it’s gone from strength to strength in recent years. Last year’s festival showcased 15 short films, and was attended by the now Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Tickets are expected to be around €18, and that includes a two-course meal along with a souvenir red carpet photo. If you fancy yourself to be an aspiring Steven Spielberg with a great idea to publicise, get entering by clicking here.
Comhairle na nÓg have put together this brilliant little film all about Children’s Rights. If you’re under 18, all the rights described in this video apply to you, as laid out by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The video features loads of young people acting out the rights laid out by the convention. It’s really funny, and even more informative.
Speaking of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is 25 years old this year, and has been protecting children and young people all over the world since November 1989. It was brought into effect in Ireland in September 1992.
For more information on Comhairle na nÓg, check out their website here. For more details on your rights as laid out by this convention, The Office of the Children’s Ombudsman have launched this amazingly handy little app called ItsYourRight, which compiles all your rights as granted by the UN in one handy location on your phone or iPad. Cool, right?
Check out these motivational TED talks from 5 women who are making their mark on the world in different ways.
Sheryl Sandberg is Chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the best-selling Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. In her motivational TED Talk, Sandberg delivers the distressing facts about women in business. She shares her three pieces of advice on how to become a leader. Sandberg concludes with the hope that through activism and the recognition of our potential and capabilities, women will one day even out the top.
Leymah Gbowee is a peace and women rights activist, leader of women’s movement that contributed to the end of the Liberian Civil War in 2003, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner of 2011. Gbowee relates her experiences traveling her home of Liberia, interacting with young women who strive for and are denied their right to education, or are abused in exchange for education. She presses the importance of the potential of girls, and what this potential can create.
Sarah Kay is creator of Project VOICE, poet, teacher, and best-selling author. The mission behind Project VOICE is to entertain, inspire, and educate through spoken word poetry. Kay began the inklings of this mission when she was a teenager. Now, Kay travels using spoken word poetry to empower her students, to get them to release their voice, and to share her own story.
Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist, author, and oceanographer. A renowned oceanographer and academic in her profession, Earle led the first team of all women to explore the ocean in 1970. She has dedicated thousands of hours to underwater ocean exploration, and to preserving ocean life. Her passion and commitment has driven her to educate on the importance of the ocean, and to deliver informational speeches on the harms being caused to it. This is the basis of her prize-winning TED speech. Earle shares her discoveries, and technological advancements underwater. She delivers a call for a proactive approach in protecting this imperative piece of our planet’s ecosystem.
May El-Khalil is founder of the Beirut International Marathon. “I believe that running can change the world”: this is how she begins her TED Speech on what drove her to create an annual running marathon in Beirut. Her country has suffered from a history of violence and division, and with the belief that running could bring unity, El-Khalil campaigned around the country talking to people from housewives to political officials, educating them on marathon running. Since the first marathon, participants have continued to grow. In 2013 the first all-women run for empowerment, in Lebanon, was held. Despite the continued divisions in Lebanon, El-Khalil’s marathon has continued to bring her people together.
Are you registered to vote? Some of you may know the answer; others won't. First off, see if you're on the register of electors here. If you're registered, great. If not, don't worry! We'll guide you through it.
This year's referendum on same-sex marraige is on 22nd May. The deadline to register to vote for this is May 6th 2015.
The annual electoral register deadline is in November each year for all new voters and those looking to change their details.
That gives you a while to get your name down on that list before the deadline ahead of what is going to be a very busy year of voting in 2015, with referendums proposed on marriage, reducing the voting age and others.
Once this is done, your details will be added to the Register of Electors and you'll be able to vote in local, national and European elections as well as referendums (once you're eligible- just check out the details below).
If you are already on the voting register but you have moved address or need to change some details, just fill in this form and send it off as above.
If you're over 18 and an Irish citizen, you're sorted. You can vote for any person in any election for as long as you live in Ireland! If you don't meet those criteria, things can be a tad more difficult. Fear not, though, you still might be eligible to vote!
Yes! You can still register for the supplement to the register at least 15 days before polling day, even if you're not 18 on the date you register, but will be 18 before polling day. To do this, follow the instructions above to register as noral, but make sure you also submit a copy of your birth certificate with your form.
Generally, you need to vote in person at an official voting centre, but there's a couple of circumstances in which you might be eligible for postal votes. This is especially relevant to students, so listen up! You can register for a postal vote if you are:
Applications for inclusion on the Postal Voters List must be received by 25 November at the latest. However, if you're eligible for the postal voter list but are not included, you can apply for the supplement to the list.
The latest date for receipt of applications is 22 days before the referendum or election. For this year's referedum on same-sex marriage the deadline to apply for the supplement to the postal register by May 1st. To apply, you can get the forms from your local authority.
If you're a non-Irish citizen and want to vote in the elections here, you'll need to be an Irish resident since at least September of last year and, of course, be over 18. You'll still need to register, though, so make sure you fit at least one of these criteria and get yourself the right form and get your name down on that list!
Check out our factsheets and opinion pieces on engaging in society. This is a key area that the SpunOut Action Panel has prioritised for 2013.
Tips to help you take action and make a positive difference.
Ireland is a democracy, which means the people elect their representatives and government by means of secret ballot.
Joining a political party means that you are registering with a political party and letting them and the world know that you generally support their causes and activates.
One SpunOutter gives her opinions on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16.
Ireland is a constitutional democracy (you’ve lost me already SpunOut!). Well, this basically means that we get to have a say in who runs our country and what the laws of the land are.
The Know Your Rights information packs are provided by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). They are a series of booklets designed to inform people about their rights, which the ICCL has rolled out as part of its Know Your Rights public information project. The booklet is designed to inform the general public, in clear and accessible language, of their rights in the areas of Garda search powers, arrest, interview, detention, provision of bodily samples and public order.
The State gets its power from the people of Ireland through the Constitution of Ireland (Bunreacht na hÉireann). The Constitution sets out some of the rights of people who live in Ireland. We also have rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). All agents of the State, including An Garda Síochána, must act in line with the Constitution and the ECHR.
The Constitution is interpreted by the courts and is supplemented by more detailed laws, which must also be in line with the Constitution. The law must also follow the ECHR and its decisions. Gardaí must act according to court rulings and legislation, otherwise they may be breaking the law.
If you have any doubts about the way you have been treated by the Gardaí, or if they have interfered with any of your rights, you should contact a solicitor.
UCD Students’ Union and the UCDLGBTQ+ society launched #VoteForME, their Marriage Equality campaign this week.
The #VoteForMe campaign aims to show people how the upcoming referendum is not solely about the LGBTQ+ community but about everyone in the country. During the launch, all students in the university were encouraged to tweet #VoteforME and give their own personal reason as to why they were in favour of Marriage Equality.
You can take a look at some of the reasons why UCD students are asking people to vote yes below:
Reasons varied from ‘There shouldn’t be 169 differences between my parents’ marriage and my best friends’ relationship’ to ‘No-one has ever asked them to ‘civil union’ them’.
Feargal Hynes, the president of UCD Students’ Union stated: "This campaign is of personal importance to students. It is simply something that they see as normal and are determined to make a reality on May 22nd. Students want to create the world they want to live in and the Marriage Equality campaign is a perfect way to help shape and develop that world."
Have you ever wanted to find a way to support SpunOut.ie’s work? Well, there are loads of different ways for you to help us to reach as many young people in Ireland as possible.
SpunOut.ie always needs the support of our amazing readers. To continue our work of providing non-judgemental, sound information to the young people of Ireland, we need your support. It would mean a lot to us if you were to consider raising funds and awareness for us in a fun and engaging way that suits you.
If you’ve ever wanted to run a marathon, there’s the perfect opportunity coming up to tick something off your bucket list, have fun, and raise some money for SpunOut in the process. The Vhi Women’s Mini-Marathon is happening on Monday June 1st and registration is open for it now. To register for it, just visit their website.
Running the Mini-Marathon is a brilliant way to get fit, challenge yourself, meet new people, and raise money for a great cause. You'll get an amazing sense of achievement afterwards, plus the fitness benefits will be great!
As Ireland’s youth information website created by young people, for young people, we provide information to 100,000 readers each month around mental health, physical health, employment and much more!
Every €4 raised keeps our servers running for a day, while a gift of €14 to SpunOut.ie can keep our service going for 40 Irish young people for a whole year.
Your fundraising efforts will allow SpunOut.ie reach more young people through it’s online content and we would be extremely grateful if you raised both funds and awareness for us by running the mini-marathon. If you would like support or advice, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week sees the digital pop-up radio station, Upbeat, promoting positive mental health over the awirwaves from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
From Monday 23rd to Friday 27th March, a whole host of presenters will cover a wide range of topics about positive mental health. Visit upbeat.ie to find out more about tuning in frequencies and get more information on the week’s programming.
Follow Upbeat onTwitter for more insights from the show’s guests and presenters. Join the conversation with #Imlistening The text number for listeners to contact Upbeat on Air - 085 2299028.
Day 1 of 5 live. Show 2 has begun pic.twitter.com/JPmwOjAxFU— Upbeat (@upbeat) March 23, 2015
This is Alison Canavan’s second time to present the Morning Show with RTE’s Shay Byrne on Upbeat on Air. One of Ireland’s top models Alison has grown to become known as Ireland’s only celebrity parenting specialist over the past four years. Alison has been a vehement supporter of mental health charity Walk in My Shoes and is a dynamic advocate for mental health issues in Ireland.
Presenter, writer, actor, and musician, Paddy Cullivan is a multi-disciplined entertainer who is at home on TV, Radio, writing opinion pieces for the Evening Herald, sketches and songs for Radio One’s ‘Callan’s Kicks’, as an MC, a performing satirist and comedian, a voiceover artist, creative consultant and festival planner, as well as being an accomplished piano player, guitarist and lead singer of the Late Late Show House Band, the Camembert Quartet.
With 20 years in the fashion industry, Corina Grant is one of Ireland’s most popular and recognised models, and also provides make-up and styling services for brides and bridal parties. Still in demand as a model, she has branched out into other areas too, working with teenagers both on a one to one basis, on the website www.udazzle.ie, and through schools to help build self-esteem and improve body image. Corina also has a column every Sunday in the Irish Sun.
Karina Buckley is from Inniscarra in County Cork. She joined the RTÉ weather team in May 2000 after graduating from UCC with a degree in biochemistry. Her academic interests lie in science communication, the topic of her master’s degree, but in her spare time she enjoys theatre, music and dance, having studied ballet in her youth. Karina also enjoys running, reading and watching TV.
A graduate of Limerick's 95FM and the breakfast show on Dublin's 98FM, Ruth Scott now hosts the second biggest radio show on RTÉ 2FM, The Saturday Show, with co-presenter Paddy McKenna.
Ruth has also taken on a role with the Healthy Ireland Council, which becomes involved in health promotions to make them accessible to everybody. She is also involved with the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon. Ruth’s partner is Rob Morgan, the son of the late Father Ted star, Dermot Morgan.
Gossip Guru, TV Producer and Presenter
Trevor’s philosophy about mental health is that we need to look after it, just as we need to exercise and eat well for our physical health.
‘The mind needs nourishment in the form of talking about what we are going through, and seeking advice and guidance from those we know and love, and professionally, if necessary. I am particularly passionate about encouraging men to talk, and I really think parents play a part in encouraging kids to talk about their feelings and anxieties from as early an age as possible. Boys need to be targeted in school to show them that acknowledging their feelings isn’t soft; if anything it’s the bravest thing we can do - to realise we all have vulnerabilities, and it's a completely natural part of living
TV and radio presenter, and also a qualified fitness instructor, Louise Heraghty is originally from Sligo and has been living in Dublin over 11 years, where she began her radio career as a traffic broadcaster with AA Roadwatch.
Since then she has worked in 98FM, Today FM and 2FM, and is currently a broadcaster with Radio Nova, as well as presenting the weather on RTE Television.
Television and radio presenter Aidan Power co-hosted 98FM’s breakfast show The Morning Crew for two years, and also hosted Dublin’s first ever New Year countdown street party, as part of NYE Dublin Festival 2013.
He has hosted a variety of children, teens, sports and family TV, including Superbloopers with Zig and Zag on RTÉ, and song-writing competition The Hitwith Nicky Byrne.
Aidan presented a new show on RTÉ called Foul Play in December 2013, featuring pranks to see if some of our best known sporting stars really are good sports! More recently Aidan hosted a new series for TRTE Television, called Shake down the Town.
Actor & Comedian, Alan Shortt is a Dublin based comedian, writer, actor, satirist and media skills trainer. His Cork roots gave him a good ear for accents, and his political impressions have been seen and heard on RTE’s Irish Pictorial Weekly, Bull Island, and The Late Late Show.
RTÉ Radio One’s early morning Risin’ Time presenter, Shay Byrne grew up in Artane and originally studied accountancy, before joining RTÉ as a continuity announcer in 2005. He became a stand-in presenter, and has worked on shows with Ryan Tubridy and Derek Mooney, and well as being the RTÉ radio commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest since 2011.
Are you a young person aged, 15-30, who wants to be more involved in shaping society and want to have your voices heard? Well, this is an opportunity for you!
Young Voices 2015 are hosting an event to give young people an opportunity to discuss and debate the recommendations from the EU Youth Conference as to how we can empower young people and improve political participation.
The event is taking place on Saturday, April 25th from 11.30-4.00pm in Dublin City Centre (all travel costs will be reimbursed).
This is part of the current European Structured Dialogue process that is taking place across Europe, giving young people and youth organisations an opportunity to influence decisions affecting their lives.
Places are limited so please confirm that you will attend by emailing AuricaC@nyci.ie with the following info: Name; Age; Email address.
Deadline is Wednesday 15th April.
The feedback from this consultation will form the basis for the Irish input to the EU Youth Conference in September in Luxembourg. 3 Young people from this event will have an opportunity to get involved in a steering group and perhaps be one of the young people to represent Ireland at the EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg.