Kilkenny youths stand out as leaders

250 delegates, aged 15 to 18, graduated on the Friday morning

Kilkenny People


Kilkenny People



Maryann Hickey, Lisa Prendergast, Cathal Ryan Phelan, Adam Gordon, Alan Mc Cabe, David Smith Butler, Raz Jalai, Peter O’ Brien, Niamh Byrne, Sinead Healy, Claire Ryan

Eleven young people from Kilkenny joined 250 other teenagers from India, the USA and Ireland last week for Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference.

The event took place in the grounds of NUI Maynooth, bringing together teenagers to empower them to become leaders in their own lives.

Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell gave a talk to the young people as part of the Aldi guest lecture series, where he highlighted the importance of staying positive. He said successful people ‘work harder and smarter’, and that’s how they achieve their goals.

“It’s really important to keep positive,” he said.

“Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something. You have the capacity to work, train and do anything you put your mind to.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, stay the course and be the person you want to be.”

The delegates also met inspirational guest speakers Louise Foody, Director of Digital & Brand at Kingspan Group and Maria Walsh, former Rose of Tralee, entrepreneur, and broadcaster.

The CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell said the young people had come to the conference because someone in their lives had seen their potential to lead, grow, develop and influence.

“Amongst other things, these teens will learn about resilience and perseverance this week, and further develop their ability to believe in themselves,” he said.

“It’s more important than ever for these young people to realise that leadership is not about ego or personal advancement, it’s about showing the way and inspiring those around you to be the best that they can be.”

The 250 delegates, aged 15 to 18, graduated on the Friday morning having completed various stages of the leadership programme.