The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in 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 (2015-2020) (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2015) builds on the National Children’s Strategy’s 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.’
A key priority of the strategy is that seldom-heard children and young people are enabled to take part in decision-making.
Ireland has local child and youth councils (Comhairle na nÓg) which are the recognised 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 the National Youth Parliament (Dáil na nÓg) is to provide a national forum for young people to discuss and vote on issues that affect their lives.