The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is the government department responsible for youth participation in Ireland.
Goal 1 of the National Children’s Strategy (2000) stated that
children will have a voice in matters which affect them and their views will be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.
The National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision Making was published in 2015 by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and builds on the National Children’s Strategy infrastructure for children and young people’s participation.
The National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making defines participation as:
the process by which children and young people have active involvement and real influence in decision-making on matters affecting their lives, both directly and indirectly.
The National Framework for Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making was recently published in 2021 and defines participation as
participation with purpose means that when children and young people are involved in decision-making, their views are listened to, taken seriously and given due weight with the intention of leading to an outcome or change.
A key priority of the Strategy is that children and young people who are seldom heard are enabled to take part in decision-making. This is also underscored in the National Framework for Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making that was recently published in 2021.
Comhairle na nÓg is Irelands local child and youth council that recognizes the key national structure for participation by children and young people in local decision-making in all 31 Local Authorities around the country. Child and youth councils were established under the National Children’s Strategy (2000).
Ireland also has a National Youth Parliament (Dáil na nÓg). The role of this body is to provide a national forum for young people to discuss and vote on issues that affect their lives.