As the national presidential debate enters its final stages, more than 70 young people from Co Kilkenny attended the Kilkenny Comhairle na nOg annual general meeting at Hotel Kilkenny to elect other young people as their representatives from the five electoral areas in Kilkenny – Ballyragget, Kilkenny City, Callan, Thomastown and Piltown. In total 16 new Comhairle Councillors were elected for a two-year term.
Coinciding with Drugs Awareness Week, the Kilkenny Peer Education Group delivered a workshop based on alcohol consumption and young people. A series of activities and games highlighted the harmful effects of alcohol, followed by discussions on challenges faced with regards to excessive use of alcohol. Easy availability of alcohol was highlighted as the biggest challenge facing young people.
A second workshop looked at exam/peer-pressure, and the subject of bullying featured prominently in the discussions and how this contributed to mental health challenges to those affected by it. Concerns about the number of subject load at Junior Certificate level were raised. The transition from 6th class to 1st year discussions proved popular with the junior cycle attendees, with their main focus of discussion on time management, school work loads and bullying at the new school.
The last workshops focused on healthy living for young people, and a demonstration was carried out by members of the Comhairle on the levels of sugar content in fizzy and energy drinks. The health effects of sugar were highlighted in discussions that followed. The event was deemed a success as one attendee commented: “I would not change anything about this event; it was great and a fantastic day for me. I wasn’t elected though, I campaigned well, but that’s democracy. I will be back next-year.”
The new members are set to hit the ground running to implement the Nore River linear walk graffiti project endorsed by the Kilkenny County Council committee on arts, culture, heritage, tourism and education, Keep Kilkenny Beautiful and supported by the Rapid programme. This is set to take place from November 2-4, underneath the Ossory Bridge.
For further information about the comhairle, contact Jacinta Purcell or Joseph Mguni at Ossory Youth, Desart Hall New Street, Kilkenny; 056 7761200.