03 Jul 2022

Belcruit youth amongst those heard in Seanad Chamber on climate crisis

Youth perspectives from across Ireland heard by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Climate Action

Belcruit youth amongst those heard in Seanad Chamber on climate crisis

Finlay Thomson from Belcruit outside the Dáil

A 17-year-old from Belcruit, Finlay Thomson, was one of a number of young people from Foróige that got the opportunity to present their perspectives on the climate crisis directly to policy-makers.

They recently engaged in discussion with TDs and Senators on a range of topics relating to environment and climate action at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action chaired by Committee Chairperson, Brian Leddin TD.

The meeting also heard from young people from Comhairle na nÓg before contributions from members of the Joint Committee. The meeting of the committee was held in the Seanad Chamber with 30 youth representatives from Foróige and Comhairle na nÓg in attendance.

Finlay spoke on his personal experience of rural transport.

“Things like student Leap cards and student cards on trains and buses as incentives for young people to use public transport at cheaper rates are fantastic initiatives, but they are completely ineffective in rural Ireland.”

He explained: “When booking a train to come back from Dublin to Sligo, I was told by my friend to remember to use my student card on the train.

"I had to actually ask them to explain what a student card was. It highlighted to me that, because my friend was somebody who could use public transport a lot, the incentive of a cheaper ticket was much higher compared to me using a public train in Ireland for the first time.

"Recently fares have been reduced for the first time in 75 years. This is amazing, but we can’t wait another 75 years for major change.”

Seán Campbell, chief executive of Foróige commented about how immensely proud they were of the young people from Foróige and Comhairle na nÓg who bravely stood up in the Seanad Chamber and spoke with passion, expertise, and creativity about climate action.

"It's clear that this is an issue that affects them both personally and profoundly.

"Every day I’m inspired by young people’s relentless dedication to tackling the most pressing issues facing our planet and by the strong leadership they show in this area. Today is just recognition of this leadership. Let’s hope this meeting is the beginning of a new era of youth participation within the walls and halls of the Oireachtas,” he said.

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