Educate Together students head to the polls for the Children’s Referendum

Students in Griffeen Valley Educate Together and Dalkey School Project voting

With only five days to go until polls open for the Children’s Referendum, students all over the country yesterday cast a symbolic vote to ensure their voices are heard on this important issue.

Students in Griffeen Valley ETNS and the Dalkey School Project cast their symbolic votes yesterday. In the run up to the vote, the schools held debates, assemblies and welcomed guest speakers from UNICEF Ireland to discuss children’s rights. There was a great buzz about both schools yesterday as every student had the opportunity to make their voice heard on the referendum. 

Eve, 11, 6th class, Griffeen Valley Educate Together said: 

What helped us understand it was telling the young classes about the Referendum. In our school what we’re trying to do right now is to be heard and, once we’ve counted the votes, parents will be able to think about what the children want. That’s what it’s about.

It’s our future so it should be our voice. We should be heard,  her classmate Ã‰abha, 12, added. 

Young people in the Dalkey School Project also piloted a series of workshops explaining the Referendum to children with UNICEF Ireland in the run up to the Children’s Referendum campaign.  These workshops are now being used by schools up and down the country. The result of their school ballot was 90% in favour of the Constitutional Amendment.

Josh Corcoran, 10, 5th class, Dalkey School Project said:

If over 50% of people vote yes it will put a paragraph about children in our Constitution. I’d ask adults to stop and think before you vote because your vote might really impact on a child’s life.

UNICEF Ireland is working with Educate Together schools, to give young people a say in the Children’s Referendum. The right for children to have a say on matters which affect them is a fundamental principle of the Referendum.

Paul Rowe, CEO, Educate Together said: 

Over the past few weeks, our schools have seen plenty of learning and enthusiastic debate on children’s rights issues. It’s never too early to teach young people in Ireland how and why we vote, and this week it is great to see them making their voices heard on an issue that directly affects them.

Peter Power, Executive Director UNICEF Ireland said: 

It’s vital that we listen to young people, especially when it comes to this Referendum which, if passed, could directly affect their lives. With UNICEF Ireland’s help, children all over Ireland are participating in the democratic process and learning about the issues involved.

The results of the nationwide ballot will be announced on Wednesday, 7th November at 10am in the Exchange, Temple Bar, Dublin. 

Media welcome. Contact Claire McKeever, UNICEF Ireland, on 01 809 0276 / 086 302 7791