A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN

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A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN
   A Youth Perspective

       European Movement Ireland
            November 2013
                              Youth Media and the Irish Presidency   i
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN
First published in November 2013 by:
© European Movement Ireland 2013

Designed by: Kaz Productions
Printed by: Walsh Colour Print
Photograpy: European Movement Ireland, YMIP journalists, Paul Sherwood
Cartoons: Eoin Kelleher, YMIP
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN

FOREWORD                                                                       2

INTRODUCTION                                                                   3
 Overview and Background                                                        4
 Youth in Action                                                                4

THE JOURNALISTS                                                                5
 Who are they and where are they now?                                           6

THE EXPERIENCE                                                             13
 Timeline                                                                      14
 Highlights of the YMIP Programme                                              15
 Support and Training                                                          17
 Media Coverage                                                                19

THE REPORTING                                                              21

THE OUTCOMES                                                               49
 Achievements                                                                  50
 Learning                                                                      51

THE PARTNERSHIP                                                            53
 Meet the Partners                                                             54
 Hear from the Partners                                                        56

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                           59

                                        Youth Media and the Irish Presidency        1
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN

Welcome to this Report on                  Digital Agenda Assembly and the
European Movement Ireland’s 2013           EU Youth Conference; our reporters
Programme, Youth Media and                 were there, covering developments,
the Irish Presidency (YMIP). EM            interviewing high-profile delegates
Ireland was delighted to have been         and speakers, and representing
successful in applying to Léargas          Ireland’s young generation.
for funding for YMIP in 2012 under
the European Commission’s Youth            I would like to take this opportunity
in Action programme. Since its             to congratulate the 25 young
launch in January 2013, YMIP has           citizen journalists from around the
grown and developed beyond all             island of Ireland who took part
our expectations, evolving into a          in YMIP and who, through their
huge achievement for everyone              hard work, talent and enthusiasm,
involved – the 25 young journalist         made the Programme such a
participants, the team here at             success. In the following pages,
EM Ireland and our partner                 you will see a selection of their
organisations.                             work. A snapshot of the YMIP
                                           coverage of the Presidency can also
This year is a unique and important        be found and explored at www.
one in Irish-EU relations. The             europeanmovement.ie/ymip and
seventh Irish Presidency, which ran        its range and quality are a tribute
from January to June, coincided            to the work and talent of the
with the fortieth anniversary of           journalists. I have no doubt that all
Ireland’s accession to the EU (then        25 participants will succeed and go
European Economic Community).              far in their future careers, and I look
2013 was also designated European          forward to tracking their progress
Year of Citizens by the European           over the coming years.
Commission, with the aim of
encouraging citizen participation          YMIP would not have been
                                           possible without the support and
                                                                                          “Tying in with
in the EU and creating a dialogue
between EU citizens and European           important contributions of our               the aims of the
representatives. Tying in with             partner organisations – Community
the aims of the European Year of           Relations in Schools (CRIS),                  European Year
Citizens, YMIP came about through          European Movement Northern
EM Ireland’s desire to see a seventh       Ireland, SpunOut.ie, and Youth            of Citizens, YMIP
                                           Advocate Programmes (YAP) Ireland
Irish Presidency which would fully
engage with and involve Ireland’s          – and YMIP’s Media Consultant,                   came about
                                           Marion Creely. My sincere thanks
young people.
                                           also to Léargas, the Irish Presidency            through EM
With YMIP, we set out to bring
a fresh youth perspective to
                                           team and the Department of the
                                           Taoiseach. Finally, I would like to          Ireland’s desire
coverage of the Irish Presidency,
and so our team of 25 citizen
                                           pay tribute to the work of the EM
                                           Ireland team, in particular Ruth, and
                                                                                     to see a seventh
journalists attended and reported
on some of the biggest and most
                                           also Billie and Neale, whose efforts
                                           ensured the smooth running of
                                                                                       Irish Presidency
important events of the Presidency.
From the launch of the European
                                           YMIP from start to finish.                which would fully
Year of Citizens 2013 in January
by President of the European
                                                                                     engage with and
Commission, José Manuel Barroso,           Noelle O Connell
                                           Executive Director
                                                                                      involve Ireland’s
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD; to the          European Movement Ireland                  young people.”

2   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN

Youth Media and the Irish Presidency (YMIP) is an all-Ireland initiative
developed in autumn 2012 by European Movement Ireland, in                       YOUTH IN ACTION
collaboration with a number of partner organisations north and south of
the border – Community Relations in Schools (CRIS), European Movement           YMIP is funded under Youth in
Northern Ireland, SpunOut.ie and Youth Advocate Programmes (YAP)                Action, the EU’s mobility and
Ireland – and Marion Creely, the programme’s Media Consultant. The aim          non-formal education programme
of YMIP was to open up the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European      targeting young people aged
Union, which took place from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2013, to the             between 13 and 30. Youth in
young people of Ireland by recruiting a team of 25 young citizen journalists    Action aims to inspire a sense
to report on both the Presidency and broader European affairs in the first      of active European citizenship,
six months of the year.                                                         solidarity and tolerance among
                                                                                young Europeans and to involve
Recruited from across the island of Ireland, our journalists were aged          them in shaping the future of
between 18 and 25 and all enthusiastic communicators, innovators and            the EU. It promotes mobility
changemakers. EM Ireland worked with our partner organisations to recruit       within and beyond the EU’s
participants from schools, colleges and youth clubs across the Republic of      borders, non-formal learning
Ireland and Northern Ireland. The YMIP team was then brought together           and intercultural dialogue, and
in Dublin for training and their first assignment – coverage of the launch of   encourages the inclusion of
the European Year of Citizens 2013 and a Citizens’ Dialogue in Dublin City      all young people, regardless
Hall – on 9 and 10 January 2013.                                                of their educational, social
                                                                                and cultural background. In
From then until the end of the Irish Presidency in June, our team of            Ireland, Youth in Action funding
journalists were present at all the major Presidency events, attending          is administered by Léargas, a
and covering Informal Meetings of Ministers, press conferences, the visit       not-for-profit organisation which
to Ireland of Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International         manages European, national
Monetary Fund, international conferences and more. Their presence at,           and international exchange and
and coverage of, these events brought a new perspective to Presidency           cooperation programmes in
proceedings – that of Irish and European young people. Not only were            education, training and youth and
they raising awareness of the Presidency among their peers and in their         community work.
local areas throughout the island of Ireland, they were also promoting
young people and their levels of engagement and interest to the politicians     Further information about Youth
and other groups at these events.                                               in Action can be found at eacea.
This Report catalogues the work and findings of YMIP, and introduces the
people involved in the initiative – the 25 young citizen journalists and EM     Read more about the work of
Ireland’s partner organisations.                                                Léargas at www.leargas.ie.

          “Being tasked with covering official events during Ireland’s
            Presidency of the Council of the EU was both an exciting
            and daunting task. It was great to have access to places
              and people that the general public did not. As citizen
                journalists, we had to provide material that would be
          accessible and interesting to as many people as possible.”
                                                                                                     Órla Ryan
4   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN

    YMIP kicked off with a call from EM Ireland and our YMIP partner organisations to Ireland’s
    young people, looking for individuals who wanted to see the concerns and opinions of
    Ireland’s young citizens represented in coverage of the Irish Presidency.

    We received a huge number of applications from all corners of the island, leaving us with
    the unenviable task of whittling down the hugely talented group of applicants to just 25
    participants. In the following pages our journalists, who are divided into five regions on the
    basis of European Parliament constituencies, introduce themselves to you in their own words.

                         Tarisai May Chidawanyika                                     Eoin Kelleher (@EoinKr)
                         (@TarieMay)                                                  Eoin is a student of medicine at
                         Before joining YMIP, May was a                               the Royal College of Surgeons
                         first-year Law student in University                         in Ireland. He grew up and went
                         College Dublin. After six months                             to school in Dublin, and has
                         in the role of YMIP journalist,                              maintained an active interest
                         she has come to see journalism                               in both politics and art from
                         as a way to speak for those who                              a young age. He has been
                         cannot speak for themselves and                              reduced to the ‘lesser’ art
                         she is now considering an MA                                 form of cartoons at this stage,
                         in Journalism. She is currently                              however. Eoin contributes
considering becoming a journalist for the UN given her          political cartoons to The Phoenix and University
Law background. May particularly enjoyed accrediting            Times, as well as various RCSI publications. He is
for and attending important events because her                  also currently the chief editor of the RCSI Student
media badges gave her a sense of pride and a feeling            Medical Journal.
of achievement. The highlight of YMIP for May was
the field trip to a farm in County Meath as part of the
Informal Meeting of Agriculture Ministers as she got            Laura Mc Loughlin (@90_laura)
an opportunity to experience Irish identity and culture.        Laura is in her final year of
Today, May is an ambitious young woman who hopes to             her English Studies degree at
one day become one of the EU leaders who inspired her           Trinity College Dublin. She
during the Irish Presidency. She is now also a reporter for     is project leader of WriteUp!,
the International Students’ Society in UCD for the year         an Enactus TCD literacy/
2013/2014.                                                      journalism initiative aimed
                                                                at transition year students.
                                                                Laura’s interests include media,
Sallyanne Downes                                                writing, blogging, travelling,
Sallyanne Downes is a media                                     volunteering and working
graduate from Dublin City                                       with children and young people. She currently
University, where she specialised                               volunteers as a student mentor at Bridge21, an
in video production. She is                                     educational initiative between Suas and TCD. In
passionate about student                                        March 2013, Laura was awarded an EIL Access
empowerment, youth                                              Travel award to work on educational projects in
participation, mental health                                    Mexico, where she spent the summer teaching
awareness, development and                                      English to Mexican children. Since finishing YMIP,
social enterprise. In university, she                           Laura has continued to pursue her interests in
ran a social enterprise called ‘Raising and Giving’, which      writing and media. She has written blogs for
aims to provide a support structure for students to set         EIL Intercultural Learning and Spunout.ie. Since
up social initiatives that make an impact on Irish society.     returning from Mexico, Laura has also completed a
Last September, she represented Ireland on behalf of            FETAC Radio Course in Media Expression.
‘Raising and Giving’ at Enactus, a global social enterprise
competition in Washington DC.

6    Youth Media and the Irish Presidency
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN

                       Mary Browne (@MaryBrowne1)        as Women for Election, Show Racism the Red Card,
                       Mary hails from Tullow,           and Women with Altitude. Ciara currently works with
                       Co. Carlow. She recently          the Ireland correspondent for France 24, assisting in
                       graduated with a degree in        the production of packages for a number of French
                       Communications from Dublin        TV stations. Ciara’s background is in research and
                       City University where she         political communication. She previously worked in
                       studied photography as part       the European Parliament, Dáil Éireann and Seanad
                       of her course. During her time    Éireann. A returned émigré, Ciara hopes to now
                       in college, Mary served as        continue working as a journalist in Ireland. She has
                       Events Manager in the Raising     started a blog and often live-tweets from events she
                       and Giving Society, one of the    attends – usually of a political nature. You can find
largest societies in the university which was recently   Ciara’s extended bio on her website at ciaragalvin.
awarded ‘Best Civic Contribution’ for its work with      wordpress.com/about.
young children in disadvantaged areas. Mary is a
big fan of social media and is constantly glued to
her Facebook and Twitter pages. YMIP has been            David Nowak (@NowakDave)
a great experience and dramatically increased her        David is an Economics and
interest in European politics, particularly on youth     German student in University
issues. During Ireland’s Presidency term, she was        College Dublin. Born in
most interested in the developments on the Youth         Germany, he lived in Poland
Guarantee Scheme.                                        before moving to Ireland. Dave
                                                         spent part of 2013 interning in
                                                         the Department of the Taoiseach
Ciara Galvin (@CiaraLeena)                               and is a member of Young
Ciara is a 24 year old freelance                         Fine Gael (YFG), holding two
journalist from Celbridge, Co.                           committee positions; Vice-Chair
Kildare. Since January her                               of Wexford YFG and Public Relations Officer of the
work has been published on                               Dublin Regional Council. Dave has been taking
TheJournal.ie, on Spunout.ie,                            photos since 2008 when he got his first camera.
and in regional papers. Her
photos have been used on social
media by organisations such

             “Our education, employment, economy and rights are
             constantly on the agenda of the EU. All the meetings I
             attended sought to give fairer and better lives to those
             who lived in the EU […] It is not an easy thing to ensure
               that the inhabitants of 28 countries are satisfied, but I
              have seen that the EU does make an effort through its
                         policies, directives and various institutions.”
                                                                           Tarisai May Chidawanyika

                                                                         Youth Media and the Irish Presidency    7
A Youth Perspective IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU - European Movement Ireland November 2013 - EUKN


                      Sorcha Cusack (@sorchacusack)                               Clodagh Garry (@ClodaghGarry)
                      Sorcha studies Law with French                              Clodagh has recently
                      Law in University College Dublin.                           completed a Masters degree in
                      With years of experience as a                               Communications and Journalism
                      youth activist, Sorcha applied                              in the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta
                      to join the YMIP team out                                   Gaeilge at NUI Galway. For her
                      of a desire to help connect                                 thesis, Clodagh studied the effects
                      more young people with the                                  of media reporting on the fair trial
                      EU. YMIP was Sorcha’s first                                 process. Clodagh is passionate
                      experience in journalism, having                            about the Irish language and Irish
                      previously only written on a                                culture and holds a degree in Irish
personal basis for her blog, www.astoldbysorcha.          and New Media from the University of Limerick. Her
com. Since YMIP, Sorcha has kept up her interest          training involves creating news packages, from recording
in EU affairs by studying in Paris. After her role        to editing, for both television and radio. During the YMIP
reporting on events during the Irish Presidency, she      programme, Clodagh was published on Foinse.ie, Beo!,
now has her sights set on developing her studies          Campus.ie, The Daily Shift and has spoken on BBC Ulster
around EU law and French. Sorcha says that she            and Newstalk radio stations.
learnt a lot more about the importance of social
media in getting articles and opinions broadcast and
has since developed her blog to include her views on      Laura Gaynor (@_LauraGaynor)
current and social affairs as well as her own personal    Laura is an eighteen year old
experiences.                                              filmmaker from Sligo. Laura sat
                                                          the Leaving Certificate in June
                                                          2013 and is now a student at Dun
Isabella De Luca (@izdeluca)                              Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design
Isabella is twenty-one years                              and Technology. She started
old. She was born and raised in                           making movies when camera
Ireland but inherited her Italian                         phones came out and began
name, passion and good taste                              showing them to the outside world
in food from her dad. Isabella                            in 2010. Her films have since been
is studying Arts with Creative                            shown in Ireland as well as places like Greece, Croatia,
Writing at NUI Galway. Her                                Chicago and what have you. Four have been broadcast
third year in college has been                            on RTÉ Two. Another was partially shown during an
dedicated to keeping a blog                               interview.
aimed at young people which
includes news and commentary on social and current
affairs. The articles she wrote for YMIP became an                              Richard Manton (@mantonr)
integral part of that work. Isabella’s highlight of the                         Richard is a PhD student in Civil
programme was the opportunity to bring the Irish                                Engineering at NUI Galway,
Presidency closer to the youth of Ireland through                               researching the promotion
her more personal opinion pieces. Isabella is now                               of sustainable transport. His
going into the final year of her degree, and is looking                         main interests are politics,
forward to seeing where her writing and experience                              environment and education. He
with YMIP will lead her after she graduates.                                    is also interested in international
                                                                                development and has volunteered
                                                                                in Haiti, Zambia and Germany.

                                                          Richard is a big fan of Irish culture, particularly Gaelic
                                                          Games, Irish language and music and a few pints of
                                                          Guinness! However, he does think it is possible (and
                                                          necessary) to have a truly inter-cultural Europe, based on
                                                          respect, peace and economic inclusivity.

8   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency

                                       NORTHERN IRELAND
                       Órla Ryan       Andrew Coffman-Smith (@CoffmanSmith)
                       (@orlaryan)     At the outset of YMIP, Andrew was finishing
                       When she        his MA Journalism course at the University
                       joined          of Ulster at Coleraine. Andrew holds a BA in
                       the YMIP        History and Political Science from the University
                       Programme,      of Tennessee. Previously, he has worked as a
                       Órla was in     staff writer for two weekly papers, a production
                       the middle of   assistant for an award-winning documentary
                       a Journalism    and a communications intern for a US
                       Masters in      Congressman. During his time in YMIP, he had
                       NUI Galway.     the great opportunity to meet various journalists,
She has since completed this           professionals and politicians including the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
course and is due to graduate          His more memorable moments during YMIP include his first hands-
in November. While studying at         on experiences with broadcast journalism and interviewing EU and
NUI Galway, Órla was a columnist       Irish statesmen and Eurosceptic protesters. Since YMIP, Andrew has
and co-features editor with Sin,       completed six-week placements at the investigative news website, The
the university newspaper, and          Detail, and at The Irish News. A portfolio of his published work can be
contributed to the college radio       found at coffmansmith.contently.com.
station, Flirt FM, on two current
affairs shows. Over the last few
months, Órla has completed                                   Caithlin Corrigan (@CaithlinC)
internships with The Connacht                                Caithlin works for Concern Worldwide as a
Tribune Group of newspapers                                  Direct Marketing Executive. She completed
and The Irish Times. She has                                 her MA in International Relations and is
recently completed an internship                             currently studying for a post-graduate diploma
with The New York Observer                                   in International Development. Before that,
and is currently interning with                              she studied for a BSc in Communications,
The Guardian. Following her                                  Advertising and Marketing.
internships, she hopes to find
a full-time job in journalism.
Órla’s highlight of YMIP was co-
interviewing Christine Lagarde,        Blaine Gaffney (@blainesligonew)
the Managing Director of the           Blaine is an Irish politics Masters student at Queens
International Monetary Fund. Her       University Belfast. In the future, Blaine would like to
main interests are journalism,         work with a governmental department or public body
photography and running. Her           in Ireland, the UK or the European Union, as public
biggest achievement to date            affairs is his ultimate passion. His ideal role would
is running the Dublin City             be a position allowing him to work with security and
Marathon with her family in 2012.      defence related policies. Before YMIP, Blaine had no
Collectively they raised over          prior experience of working in a journalistic role or
a11,200 for cancer services in         with covering large scale events such as those involved
Sligo General Hospital.                in the Irish EU Presidency. His main experience lay
                                       in political communication and administrative roles.
                                       Blaine recently completed his dissertation and has been appointed the
                                       North-West International Officer on the new International Committee in
                                       Young Fine Gael. Blaine’s highlights of the YMIP programme are the YMIP
                                       training day in Dublin where he got to speak to the Taoiseach, exclusively
                                       covering the announcement by Minister Alan Shatter about the Irish
                                       Defence Forces deployment on the EU Training Mission to Mali and also
                                       the really nice people he got to meet on the programme.he will be actively
                                       seeking employment. Blaine has also been appointed as the North-West
                                       International Officer on the new International Committee in Young Fine Gael.

                                                                           Youth Media and the Irish Presidency   9

                        Una Kelly                                                    James Mulhall (@dodgeyjammer)
                        When Una joined YMIP she                                     James is 22 and has just finished
                        was a final year student of Law                              his journalism Masters degree in
                        and German in Trinity College                                the University of Ulster, Coleraine.
                        Dublin. She has since successfully                           He comes from a tiny place
                        completed her final exams and                                called Walsh Island in Co. Offaly.
                        is due to graduate in November.                              He moved to Galway to study
                        Originally from Derry, Una                                   Sociology, Political Science and
                        currently lives and works in Berlin                          Geography in NUI Galway in 2008,
                        and is enjoying further developing                           before moving to Coleraine in
                        her language capabilities every                              Co. Derry for his postgraduate
day. After spending a year studying in Hamburg she            studies. At the moment, James is finishing up his thesis
developed an interest in meeting other young Europeans        on the topic “Has the media in the Republic of Ireland
and hopes to get to know other cities and people              influenced people’s perceptions of Northern Ireland?”
across the continent in the future. Una was involved in       while he is on placement with SpunOut.ie. James
journalism before YMIP, having completed internships          loves to travel and hopes to do so after his studies are
at BBC Radio Foyle and The Irish Times. She was also          complete. He has also volunteered in the past and would
a reporter for Trinity News and online news editor at         very much like to do so again. An amateur linguist,
The University Times. Having gained more skills and           James completed an intermediate certificate in Irish while
experiences through YMIP she hopes to pursue a career         studying for his postgraduate degree.
in journalism, with a particular focus on human rights and
international law. Her highlight of the YMIP programme
was a social media workshop, as she feels she learned         Aine O’Doherty (@aineodoherty)
a lot about the indispensable role of social media in the     Before joining YMIP, Aine was
rapidly changing world of journalism.                         studying for a professional
                                                              journalism qualification in the
                                                              North West Regional College in
Maeve Montague                                                Derry. While there, she worked
Maeve has always been interested                              for a local newspaper on a ten-
and curious about the world we                                month placement, and also gained
live in, and impassioned by social                            two weeks work experience with
justice and rights. She has always                            UTV. Along with this hands on
wanted to be involved in changing                             experience, YMIP helped Aine to
the world for the better and,                                 develop her inter-personal skills, and gain real experience
being a ferocious reader, thought                             at important, high-profile events. Since YMIP, Aine has
it would be journalism which                                  gained employment as a full-time reporter with the
would do this. Five years ago,                                Tyrone Constitution in Omagh. Aine’s highlights of YMIP
she moved from her native Tyrone                              include the regional workshop in Belfast, where YMIP
to Dublin to study medicine and she hopes to work with        members were given time to question former Minister
Médecins Sans Frontières after graduation, and stay           Lucinda Creighton TD and visit Stormont for a session on
involved with development.                                    Youth in Europe.

                                                                 “I was surprised that finding
                                                              the “human element” or hook
                                                               in EU stories wasn’t as hard as
                                                                         I expected it to be.”
                                                                                     Andrew Coffman-Smith

10   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency


                     Marie Dromey (@mariedromey)                                  Tricia Purcell (@purcell_t)
                     Marie has recently completed                                 Before joining YMIP, Tricia had
                     a Masters in Psychology in                                   recently completed a graduate
                     the University of Limerick.                                  diploma in journalism from the
                     Previously, she graduated with                               University of Limerick and was
                     a degree in Applied Psychology                               working as a subeditor intern
                     from University College                                      with SpunOut.ie. Hailing from
                     Cork. Outside of studies and                                 Tipperary and now living in
                     Psychology, she has spent the                                Dublin, Tricia has returned to
                     last few years acting as an                                  work with SpunOut.ie as an
                     alumnus with the European                                    online journalist and subeditor
Youth Parliament, which has brought her all over         on a 12-month contract. She hopes to build her skillset
Europe. She also enjoys debating with university.        over this period and continue a career in the media
In her spare time, Marie is an avid music and            sector. Tricia’s highlight from the six months as a YMIP
photography fan.                                         reporter was co-interviewing Christine Lagarde on
                                                         International Women’s Day. The interview with the head
                                                         of the IMF was recorded and used on RTÉ. Giving the
Carlynn McCarthy (@Carlynnmcc)                           Presidency a youth perspective in Ireland was another
Carlynn is a multi-disciplined                           highlight of Tricia’s and she hopes to continue to shine a
journalist and blogger with a                            light on youth issues in her future work.
degree in European Integration
Studies. She has worked in
radio, print and online. Her                             Aisling Twomey (@taisling)
experience includes marketing,                           Aisling is 23 and studied at
copy writing, editing and the                            University College Cork for four
management of social media                               years, completing a BCL (Hons)
platforms. Carlynn speaks fluent                         in 2011 and an LLM (Criminal
Spanish and has a good working                           Justice) in 2012. She has six
knowledge of Italian, Portuguese and French. She         years of journalism experience,
has a penchant for all things social media, boxing and   locally, nationally and
using the word penchant.                                 internationally, both in print and
                                                         online. Aisling is a dedicated
                                                         social media user and currently
                                                         works in political communication.

        “The past six months have gone too fast; YMIP introduced
             me to on-location media procedures and gave me the
           chance to use social media for news delivery during live
          events, which taught me a great deal about the power of
        the internet in the 21st century.Better than that, YMIP gave
        me an insider’s glance at EU politics, the sheer scope of EU
           policy and the level of organisation needed to keep the
                  European project running on a day to day basis.”
                                                                                           Aisling Twomey
                                                                        Youth Media and the Irish Presidency    11

                                      “Probably the most important skill I feel I
                                     gained [through YMIP] was the confidence
                                  in my own verbal communication skills. Prior
                                        to the YMIP programme, for example, I
                                  would have never engaged with high-ranking
                                  politicians or personalities due to my anxiety
                                      and nervousness when asking a question.
                                  Now, however, I am always on the lookout for
                                      someone to grill with difficult questions.”
                                                                    Blaine Gaffney

12   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency


Date                      Event
Early January 2013        YMIP team are brought together for the programme’s induction and first training days
10 January 2013           Launch of European Year of Citizens 2013 and Citizens’ Dialogue in Dublin City Hall
                          with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD and President of the
                          European Commission, José Manuel Barroso
                          YMIP Press Conference with Vice-President of the European Commission, Viviane
January-June 2013         YMIP journalists attend and report on official and associated Irish Presidency events
                          in Dublin and around Ireland
Mid-February 2013         Regional Mentoring and Reflection Session for YMIP South Constituency
                          journalists, Cork
Early March 2013          Regional Mentoring and Reflection Session for YMIP Northern Ireland Constituency
                          journalists, Belfast
8 March 2013              International Women’s Day
                          Two YMIP journalists – Tricia Purcell and Órla Ryan – interview Christine Lagarde,
                          Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
Late March 2013           YMIP Midway Training and Reflection Day, Dublin
Early April 2013          Regional Mentoring and Reflection Session for YMIP North-West Constituency
                          journalists, Galway
Early May 2013            Regional Mentoring and Reflection Session for YMIP Dublin and East Constituency
                          journalists, Dublin
Mid-June 2013             YMIP Social Media Training Day, Dublin
Late July 2013            Final YMIP Training Day, Dublin
July-November 2013        Feedback on YMIP and input into Report from YMIP partners and participants
20 November 2013          Launch of YMIP Report

          “As part of YMIP, I have met the Taoiseach, countless
government ministers and 24 talented, enthused young writers,
    videographers, photographers, cartoonists and more from
     across Ireland, North and South. I have had opportunities
          I most certainly would not have gotten outside of the
  programme and for these opportunities, I am very grateful.”
                                                                                            James Mulhall

14   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency

                                                                      #Verbatim Citizens’ Dialogue. #Verbatim is a
                                                                      soundbite-based project devised by two of our
                                                                      YMIP journalists, Marie Dromey and Aisling Twomey,
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YMIP PROGRAMME                                      which presents multiple viewpoints of events through
                                                                      memorable quotes, word for word.

Launch of the European Year of Citizens 2013 and Citizens’ Dialogue
On Thursday, 10 January 2013, the European Year of Citizens was launched in Dublin City Hall by the
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD, and President of the European Commission, José
Manuel Barroso. This Launch was followed by a Citizens’ Dialogue between 200 citizens, Vice-President of the
European Commission, Commissioner Viviane Reding, and then Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda
Creighton TD.

Thursday, 10 January 2013 was also only the second day of YMIP for the 25 young journalists. Just the day
before, they had all met each other for the first time at the YMIP induction and first training days. The day’s
programme, put together and delivered in collaboration with EM Ireland’s partner organisations, featured
team-building exercises, informal Q&A sessions with journalists and media experts, and briefing sessions on
the EU; its institutions, work and the Presidency of the Council of the EU. This allowed the group to get to
know each other at the outset of the Programme, learn about the work of the Irish Presidency and hear from
media and political experts on how best to navigate European affairs and the Irish Presidency over the six
months ahead.

  The Launch of the European Year of Citizens and
  the Citizens’ Dialogue were the first assignments for
  the 25 YMIP journalists and saw them competing for
  interviews, photos and soundbites with professional
  journalists from around the world. The journalists
  were also afforded an exclusive YMIP-only press point
  with Vice-President Reding after the conclusion of
  the Citizens’ Dialogue. What better way to cut their
  journalistic teeth?!

                                                                         Youth Media and the Irish Presidency          15

Briefing with the Taoiseach
At the YMIP Midway Training and Reflection Day in
March 2013, the YMIP journalists received a surprise
visit from the Taoiseach, who popped in to say
hello and sit down for a chat with the journalists.
Despite being taken aback by their surprise guest,
our journalists stepped up to the mark and served
him some tough questions, on issues ranging from
the Presidency and the economic situation, to
emigration and youth issues.

                                                       Christine Lagarde
                                                       On Friday, 8 March 2013, Managing Director
                                                       of the International Monetary Fund, Christine
                                                       Lagarde, visited Dublin for talks with the
                                                       Taoiseach and Tánaiste. EM Ireland, in
                                                       collaboration with the Press Section of the Irish
                                                       Presidency, secured a one-to-one interview for
                                                       YMIP with Ms Lagarde.

                                                       On International Women’s Day, Tricia Purcell and
                                                       Órla Ryan found themselves in the incredible
                                                       position of interviewing one of the most
                                                       successful and powerful women in the world.
                                                       Their articles were published in the Tipperary
                                                       Star and online by The Daily Shift and Campus.
                                                       ie. Soundbites from their interview were also
                                                       used by Galway Bay FM and Flirt FM, and the
                                                       interview was featured on RTÉ Television’s daily
                                                       afternoon show, Today.

                                                       You can listen to the interview in full online at

16   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency

 Three of our South Constituency journalists with
 Mary Smithwick, Political Editor, Evening Echo.

                                              SUPPORT AND TRAINING
                                              Throughout YMIP, a strong emphasis was placed on providing the 25 citizen
                                              journalists with opportunities for learning, upskilling, peer collaboration,
                                              mentoring and reflection. These were designed to complement the informal
                                              learning which was taking place as the journalists attended and reported on
                                              events. This support and training was delivered through a series of support,
      “The experience                         mentoring, reflection and training sessions held over the course of the
                                              Programme on both a regional and national basis.
     has been a steep
                                              Regional Mentoring and Reflection Sessions
      learning curve. It                      Regional Mentoring and Reflection Sessions were held during the Irish
      all feels like a bit                    Presidency in each of the five YMIP Regions, or European Parliament
                                              constituencies; South, East, Dublin, North-West and Northern Ireland. The
     of a blur, from the                      purpose of these sessions was twofold: to allow the YMIP journalists from
                                              that region the opportunity to reflect on their experience of the programme
 moment I found out                           thusfar, and to meet with a working journalist from their region in an informal
                                              and friendly setting.
 I had a place on the
   programme, to the                          In the Reflection Session, participants discussed YMIP, their experiences of
                                              and hopes for the Programme, and their goals for the remaining time. These
two-day crash course                          Sessions were an opportunity for the journalists to re-focus themselves and
                                              their work, and also to hear and learn from their fellow participants. These
  in January and then                         Sessions were facilitated by youth workers from the respective regions.

   right into the deep                        The second part of the day was a Mentoring Session – simply put, a couple
                                              of hours of chat with a professional journalist based in the region the YMIP
 end covering events                          participants represented. This afforded the YMIP journalists the opportunity
        in Dublin every                       to meet with a practising journalist in an informal setting where they would
                                              be able to discuss experiences, ask questions and compare notes on careers
                month.”                       in journalism and the Irish media.

              Isabella De Luca

                                                                                  Youth Media and the Irish Presidency     17

Midway Training and Reflection Day
In mid-March 2013, EM Ireland organised a Midway Training and Reflection Day in Dublin for the YMIP
journalists to allow everyone involved in YMIP – the EM Ireland team, partner organisations, and YMIP
journalists – to catch up with each other, discuss their progress and to look ahead to the remaining three
months of the Irish Presidency and the YMIP Presidency coverage.

Training sessions on the day were designed based on feedback from the Regional Mentoring and Reflection
Sessions, and focused on correct and effective use of social media and issues of libel and ethics in journalism.
There was also a panel discussion with a cross-party group of political representatives on the Youth Guarantee,
one of the major topics of the Irish Presidency, and the Taoiseach popped in for a surprise chat and briefing
with the journalists.

Social Media Training Day
In response to repeated requests for information and training on social media and its use in journalism and
branding, EM Ireland organised a full-day social media training session in June 2013. Delivered by digital
communications and online publicity strategist, Krishna De, the training day covered topics including writing
content for the social web; building online visibility through blogging; using Twitter to connect with the media;
using LinkedIn profiles to build your online profile; enhancing communications using multimedia content; and
social media monitoring.

Final YMIP Training Day
In July, to round off YMIP and its learning for the 25 journalists, we held a final training day in the Digital Hub,
Dublin. The aim of the training day was to cement everything the journalists had learned over the previous
six months and to equip them as they moved on from YMIP to further studies and careers. The day therefore
had a focus on media and professional skills and learning. A session on on-camera skills was delivered by DHR
Communications, Clear Ink provided training on clear writing skills, and Young Social Innovators facilitated a
session on social entrepreneurship.

                                “At just my second Presidency event, a meeting
                                  of EU Defence Ministers, I walked through tight
                                     security with a camera and audio equipment
                                           borrowed for the day from my university
                              newspaper. Unused to such settings and thinking
                                I would be dismissed as too young, I quickly saw
                                    that it was best to throw myself in at the deep
                               end and be assertive, whether confidently asking
                                   that question or elbowing for space along with
                              national and European news reporters, all striving
                                             to get the best angle for their photo.”

                                                                                                      Una Kelly

18   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency

Over the course of YMIP and beyond, our 25 citizen journalists
managed to secure a huge amount and range of media coverage of
the programme and of their own YMIP work. Over the six months of
the Irish Presidency, YMIP work was featured:

•    In the online and print versions of a number of Ireland’s
     national newspapers, including The Irish Times and The Irish

•    On Ireland’s national television station, RTÉ1;

•    In regional media around the country, including The Connacht
     Tribune, The Western People, The Tipperary Star, The Sligo
     Champion, The Fingal Independent and Foinse;

•    Online, on TheJournal.ie, Broadsheet.ie, The Daily Shift,
     Campus.ie, and Beo!

The journalists also gained exclusive access to high-profile individuals
through press conferences and interview opportunities, including:

•    The Taoiseach;
•    The Tánaiste;
•    Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde;
•    Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner
     Viviane Reding;
•    Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation,
     Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva;           Social Media
•    Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD;       Social media, and in particular
                                                                           Facebook and Twitter, have been
•    Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD;
                                                                           key to building the profile and
•    Former Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD;           visibility of YMIP and the citizen
•    Emer Costello MEP;                                                    journalists. EM Ireland set up a
•    Television presenter, Lloyd Grossman.                                 Facebook page for the promotion
                                                                           of YMIP, the journalists and their
                                                                           content, and we also regularly
YMIP journalists have been a hit on the radio too, appearing on RTÉ        tweeted about the programme.
Radio 1, BBC Northern Ireland, Newstalk, Radio Kerry, Galway Bay           The citizen journalists also used
FM, Flirt FM and Spin South-West.                                          Facebook and Twitter themselves
                                                                           to promote their work to their
This interest in the YMIP journalists has not subsided with the end of     followers, as well as directly
the Irish Presidency. Since the Presidency came to a close in June,        to people they felt would be
the journalists have continued to receive requests for articles and        interested in their work, with some
comment, and to appear as panelists on radio, television and at            amazing results!
live events. Carlynn McCarthy has appeared as a panelist on RTÉ
Radio 1’s weekend show, Marian Finucane, for example. Perhaps the
most exciting example of this is Clodagh Garry, who was asked to
participate in an Irish-language panel debate at Electric Picnic about
young people and Europe and engaging citizens in EU politics!              Youth Media and the Irish Presidency   19

                                             “During my time with YMIP, I learned how
                                                to professionally tweet, record and edit
                                                   audio podcasts; layer tracks to create
                                                atmosphere and interview the man-on-
                                              the-street for broadcast. Through YMIP, I
                                              also had my first experiences behind and
                                             in front of the camera where I got to learn
                                               everything from the logistics of shooting
                                                  to editing footage into a final product
                                            suitable for broadcast. It was also through
                                                  YMIP that I found my broadcast voice
                                               and learned how to write an informative
                                                but engaging analysis op-ed that is not
                                                                      outright partisan.”

                                                                   Andrew Coffman-Smith

20   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency
 In the following pages, we have gathered a selection of the articles, photos, cartoons and other reports
 completed by the 25 YMIP journalists over the six months of the Irish Presidency. If you are interested in
 reading some more YMIP coverage, check out the YMIP blog at www.europeanmovement.ie/category/


EU – Engaging with our Union
Órla Ryan
We live in an age where unprecedented levels of               the European Economic Community and our six-month
political connection are possible, and not just in            Presidency of the Council of the EU.
terms of technology. Despite this, many people feel
disconnected from their public representatives at local,      The formula is seemingly straightforward: a moderator
national and international level. In modern democracies,      oversees a Question and Answer session between
the encouragement of citizen engagement with                  members of the public and Viviane Reding, Vice-
politicians has become an increasingly common feature.        President of the European Commission. The audience
                                                              size varies from 200 to 500 people. An indigenous
In 2012, the President of the European Commission,            politician is also present for questioning – in the Irish
José Manuel Barroso, called for a broad debate                instance, State Minister for European Affairs, Fine Gael’s
between officials and citizens of the European                Lucinda Creighton, TD.
Union. There are over 500 million citizens in the EU.
Successfully bringing together a pool of people diverse       At the Citizens’ Dialogue in Dublin, the debate was
enough to truly represent this community is quite an          split into three sections: the current economic crisis,
undertaking, before one even begins to factor in the          the rights of European citizens and the future of the
element of productive discussion with a view to policy        EU – with a particular focus on where we hope to be
formation.                                                    in 2020. Topics covered included the possibility of an
                                                              EU banking union and Minister for Finance, austerity
Since September of last year, five ‘Citizens’ Dialogues’      budgets that target the most vulnerable, restructuring
have taken place throughout Europe, the most recent of        of the promissory note deal, unlinking bank debt and
these being held in Dublin City Hall on 10 January. This      sovereign debt, youth unemployment, retirement
series of public-politician forums, entitled ‘A Debate        age, climate change, gender inequality and the pay
on the Future of Europe’, will continue until the end of      gap, discrimination against individuals and smaller EU
2013. These dialogues coincide with the European Year         countries, active citizenship and the idea of a ‘human
of Citizens, the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s accession to   rights scoreboard’ for member states.

                                                                                     Vice-President of the European
                                                                                     Commission, Commissioner Viviane
                                                                                     Reding, at the Citizens’ Dialogue in Dublin.
                                                                                     Photo: Dave Nowak, YMIP.

22   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency

A multifarious list, but one that merely scratches the          are. The Commission website includes information on
surface of our Union. Minister Creighton stressed the           rights, but citizens have expressed their desire to receive
inclusive nature of the EU at the forum, saying: “Every         information from other platforms, most notably television
Irish citizen, every one of the citizens of all member states   (52 per cent); social networking websites (49 per cent)
and candidate countries have a right to influence the           and ‘Europedia’ – an online discussion forum (34 per
direction of our union – to improve it, to make it better       cent). One in ten citizens, meanwhile, felt there was no
for the future.”                                                need for extra information to be shared3.

Only a small fraction of those present got to ask their         “Politicians are Listening”
question. This is far from ideal but, logistically, was         As a politician from Luxembourg, the EU’s smallest state,
somewhat unavoidable. Such events cannot provide a              Ms Reding regularly speaks directly to citizens and would
portrait of the EU, but they can offer a snapshot and the       like to see this process replicated across the continent
process of citizen engagement has to start somewhere.           and Union at large. “Something which has bothered
One issue to consider in terms of the audience is that          me at European level is that we are making too many
those who apply to attend are often people who are              big speeches, instead of going out and looking the
already interested in politics. This leads to a continuous      citizens in the eye and asking them their opinion.” She
cycle of the same faces, the same voices and the                added that the EU should involve citizens in the entire
same sense of disconnect felt by those on the political         decision making process, not just present them with a
periphery.                                                      policy in its final form. “[The Citizens’ Dialogue series] is
                                                                the beginning of a new adventure together [...] where
One can easily become disillusioned with politics and           politicians are listening,” she assured.
the seemingly impenetrable mound of bureaucracy
that surrounds it. Vice-President Reding stated that 69         At the close of the public discussion, Minister Creighton
per cent of EU citizens believe their voices don’t count.       acknowledged that many changes and reforms are
What so for this silent majority? Are such debates simple       needed within the EU as it “certainly isn’t perfect”.
posturing, no more than lip service?                            She maintained that the Union must acknowledge its
                                                                deficiencies and strengths alike in order to better itself.
This disengagement could well be one of the                     As a follow-up to the Citizens’ Dialogue in the capital, her
contributing factors to the steady decrease in voter            office will organise a number of regional debates across
turnout since the first direct European elections took          Ireland where individuals, civil society organisations
place in 1979. General turnout in the last elections in         and NGOs can voice their opinions in a similar fashion.
2009 stood at 43 per cent1. The findings of a Europe-           Minister Creighton also spoke of the need to improve
wide survey from 2010 show that over eight in ten               accountability, democracy and engagement at European
citizens believe this figure would increase if voters           level. She said that genuinely involving citizens in the
received more information on the programmes and                 political process would be a challenge, but one that
objectives of European Parliament candidates and                would be met. “The evolution of Europe and Ireland’s
how political parties’ programmes impact on people’s            place in Europe is an on-going process,” she added.
daily lives2.
                                                                Unprecedented change has occurred in both Ireland
In 2012 the European Commission undertook its largest           and the EU since our marriage 40 years ago. Whatever
ever public consultation, surveying almost 12,000               the next four decades will entail, one thing is for certain:
European citizens about their experiences with EU               citizen engagement is vital. Citizens’ Dialogues are a step
rights. Commissioner Reding admitted that almost seven          in the right direction on a very long journey. Whether or
in ten European citizens don’t know what their rights           not they will lead to tangible results: time will tell.

     EU Citizenship Report 2010: ‘Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights’
     Eurobarometer Qualitative Survey: ‘European Union Citizenship: Cross-Border Mobility’ (August 2010; as listed in EU
     Citizenship Report 2010).
     EU Citizens’ Agenda: Public Consultation on EU Citizenship (2012 European Commission survey of 11,598 European
                                                                                Youth Media and the Irish Presidency       23


Irish and British armies to join forces in Mali
Una Kelly

As EU defence ministers came together on a wet
February day for an informal meeting in Dublin Castle,                             Irish Defence Minister Alan Shatter greets
the biggest development to emerge concerned our                                    Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary
relationship to our UK neighbours. In a significant                                General. Photo: Una Kelly, YMIP.
announcement, Irish Defence Minister Alan Shatter said
Ireland and Britain will send a joint deployment of troops     on the situation in Mali. In a press conference after the
to war-torn Mali as part of an EU training mission. While      meeting, Mr Shatter said there had been constructive
Irish and British defence forces have previously co-           engagement on all issues and that there was broad
operated with each other on UN peacekeeping missions,          support and recognition for the French effort in Mali. He
this is the first time the two countries will work together    stated that the French intervention was seen as being
to produce a joint task force. Britain will lead the eight     protective of Europe. He emphasised that defence is of
Irish soldiers and 18 British soldiers under the First Royal   importance to everyone in Europe, citing the potential
Irish Regiment, which could see troops from both sides of      threat of suspected chemical weapons presently in Syria
the border working together for the first time.                coming in to the wrong hands.

The announcement, which due to troubled history would          Significant visitors at this Irish EU Presidency event were
have been unthinkable until recently, was described            NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and
as “historic” by Mr Shatter, particularly after the visit      UN peacekeeping representatives. The first official
of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland two years ago. “It            visit of a NATO Secretary General to Ireland was seen
is yet another indicator of the total normalisation of         as an effort to enhance cooperation between NATO
relationships between all of us on this island, the island     and the EU. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
of Ireland, and between this State and the United              is a military alliance of countries and Ireland, although
Kingdom,” Mr Shatter said. “In that sense it is a historic     not an official member, conducts its relations with
step and provides a tangible manifestation of the very         the organisation through the Partnership for Peace
positive relationship and the mutual respect that now          framework, which Ireland joined in 1999. NATO and
exists between our countries”. Ireland and Britain may         Ireland actively cooperate on humanitarian, rescue,
join forces for future UN mandated missions, however,          peacekeeping and crisis management, and Irish troops
Mr Shatter added: “If you’re asking me is Ireland and the      have been a part of missions in Kosovo, Bosnia and
UK going to declare war on someone or invade I can tell        Afghanistan. At the event, Mr Rasmussen welcomed
you no, that’s not part of the agenda.”                        Ireland to further enhance its cooperation with NATO in
                                                               the future as, he stated, further cooperation is of benefit
The EU training mission to Mali aims to boost the              to both parties in times of crisis, and acknowledged
country’s defence forces and also help to protect civilian     Ireland’s history of contribution to peacekeeping.
and human rights. The mission will be made up of about
500 personnel in total, including 200 instructors. It will     UN peacekeeping representatives also made a
be deployed by mid-March and is expected to last for           presentation at the meeting of EU defence ministers,
15 months. The present conflict in Mali began in March         and under discussions of how there can be greater
2012, when the president was ousted in a military coup,        engagement between the EU and UN, broad consensus
leaving a battle for power among several forces. One           was reached that the EU must do the utmost to ensure
of these forces has been hijacked by Islamist extremists       the relationship is more “operational”.
who have since taken control in much of the country. In
January 2013, France responded to a call for foreign           Although no decisions from the informal meeting are
aid by sending 4,000 French troops to intervene and            binding or enforceable, it was clear that the intention
push back extremists. France now hopes for an African          for greater commitment to common defence policies
peacekeeping force to take over.                               is on the agenda for the EU. Although there has
                                                               been progress, it was stated that there has also been
The domestic announcement of co-operation between              complacency in some areas. As for Ireland, that most
Irish and British Defence forces may have somewhat             geographically detached of EU states, it is apparent that
over-shadowed the other items on the agenda of the EU          the Irish Presidency will be used to strengthen our links to
defence ministers meeting, one of which was a discussion       the EU and the wider world.

24   Youth Media and the Irish Presidency

COFACE & ICA Conference Day 1:
“Vulnerable Families – What Can Europe Do?”
Aine O’Doherty

The Sixth European Families Conference was held
in Dublin on 4 and 5 February 2013. Organised
by the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) and
the Confederation of Family Organisations in the                               Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs,
European Union (COFACE), the conference focused on                             Frances Fitzgerald TD, at the Vulnerable Families
vulnerable families and what the European Union can                            Conference. Photo: Aine O’Doherty, YMIP.
do for them.
                                                             promotes the ‘traditional’ family, and argues against
Delegates travelled from all over Europe for the event,      homosexual and promiscuous heterosexual behaviour,
including Portugal, Belgium and Bulgaria, to reflect         to the event.
on Europe’s current position is in relation to these
families, and the trends which have emerged since the        This was not the view of all the delegates at the
financial crisis.                                            conference; during the second plenary session,
                                                             delegates were given up to date presentations with
The delegates were welcomed by Liz Wall, the                 statistics about vulnerable families across the EU. This
President of the ICA, and Annemie Drieskens,                 included single parent families, and other types of
President of COFACE. They were then treated to               ‘non-traditional’ families.
keynote speeches by Ireland’s Minister for Children
and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald; Juan Menéndez-        Child poverty was one of a number of serious issues
Valdés, Director of Eurofound (the European                  tackled on the day, along with single parent families
Foundation for the Improvement of Living and                 and the roles of carers. Bea Cantillon, a lecturer from
Working Conditions – an EU body based in Dublin);            the Sociology Department in Antwerp University
and Julius op de Beke of the European Commission.            focused on child poverty, pointed out that “Child
                                                             poverty in most countries is at a higher level than
Ireland is considered a model for all other EU member        overall poverty.” The presentation included steps
states in terms of its work for and support of the           that could be taken by the EU to help alleviate child
family, and Ms Drieskens, outlined her organisation’s        poverty in member states, and imbalances in policy
high expectations for the Irish Presidency: “European        frameworks.
countries recognise families as important social
institutions, and the majority of the countries have         Speaking about the creation of the Ministry for
adopted different policy measures to support families.       Children and Youth Affairs, Minister Fitzgerald said,
COFACE always says that families need RST –                  “I think it’s very important because we can hear from
Resources, Services and Time.                                the conference here how important and the huge
                                                             contribution that working effectively, particularly with
In her speech, Minister Fitzgerald championed the            the more vulnerable children and families can make.
policy of early intervention, saying “The State must         The importance of co-ordinating services at a high
endeavour to provide a level of support that helps           level, the importance of focus in this area, budget
parents to create a safe and caring environment for          in this area makes a huge difference, so for example
their children. Of course early intervention is key. There   holding the children’s referendum, being in cabinet
is a delicate balance to be got between the provision        was very important; so I think it’s about being at the
of ongoing support to a family, and the ultimate state       table and influencing others and making sure that this
of intervening to remove a child from a situation which      agenda is part of the agenda of the government. So it
is detrimental to their safety and welfare.”                 gives an opportunity to do that.”

There was an opportunity for questions from the floor        The second day of the Conference focuses on
for the panel in the first plenary session. Delegates        breakout sessions, which will see delegates making
from the UK, Slovakia and Croatia asked questions,           their voices heard and putting forward propositions.
with the Croatian delegate speaking about his                With such a wide range of delegates from many
organisation, the Family Centre in Zagreb. He had            different backgrounds, it is sure to be a day full of
brought some literature about his organisation, which        interesting debate.

                                                                            Youth Media and the Irish Presidency              25
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