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Information providers / counselling structures
The Referendum Commission
The Referendum Commission is responsible for disseminating information about democratic rights and democratic values to the wider population in Ireland. The Referendum Commission is an independent body which is neutral and impartial. The aim of the Referendum Commission is to communicate factual information about referendums.
The role of the Referendum Commission is to:
- Explain to the public what the referendum proposal means
- Make sure people know a referendum is being held
- Encourage people to vote
The legislation providing for the establishment of the Referendum Commission is the Referendum Act 1998 as amended by the Referendum Act 2001. The Referendum Commission has a website where information on referendums and voting can be accessed directly.
Youth Information Centres
Youth Information Centres (YICs) provide a free, confidential information service to young people and those who work with them on a wide range of subjects including:
- employment matters,
- rights and entitlements,
- travel and
- European opportunities.
Youth Information Centres also provide a variety of outreach activities bringing information to young people through:
- information points,
- schools and youth club work,
- local radio and
Youth Information Centres are funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. They are administered by a variety of youth organisations and operate as an integrated part of locally based youth services. Youth Information Centres provide information on counselling and support services for young people. There are currently 26 Youth Information Centres in Ireland.
Information on young people’s rights
Sources of information on young people’s rights include:
Youth-targeted information campaigns about democratic rights and democratic values
NYCI launched its “New Age in Voting” campaign in 2009. The campaign called for for the extension of voting rights to young people aged 16 and 17 years. In 2013 NYCI provided a submission and presentation on the Constitutional Convention which voted to support the introduction of voting rights for 16 and 17 year olds.
The Government accepted this recommendation and committed to bringing forward a referendum to allow 16 and 17 year olds citizens to vote. However, in 2015 the Government reneged on this commitment.
Promoting the intercultural dialogue among young people
NYCI co-ordinated the No Hate Speech Movement in Ireland from 2014 – 2018 with the support of many national organisations, and a team of Youth Ambassadors. While the campaign has formally ceased, it continues as part of the Council of Europe’s and NYCI’s ongoing work around human rights and equality.
NYCI offers online information and resources to support individuals and groups maintain the work of tackling on-line hate speech. As a direct result of being involved in the No Hate Speech Movement, NYCI has joined the Irish Coalition Against Hate Crime which is campaigning to have Hate Crime legislation established in Ireland.
Promoting transparent and youth-tailored public communication
SpunOut.ie is Ireland’s youth information website created by young people, for young people. SpunOut.ie provides information to around 140,000+ active readers each month. Its vision is to help create an Ireland where young people aged between 16 and 25 are empowered with the information they need to live active, happy, and healthy lives. The website’s aim is to educate and inform readers about the importance of holistic wellbeing and how good health can be maintained, both physically and mentally.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provides assessment and treatment for young people and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties. CAMHS is available for all young people up to the age of 18 years. CAMHS is operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE), a body that provides all of Ireland's public health services in hospitals and communities across the country.
Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health
Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, operates a national network of projects that provide tailored community-based help for young people’s mental health needs.
Jigsaw is a free and confidential support service for young people, their mental health and wellbeing, aged 12 – 25. They provide early intervention youth mental services are designed to be safe and compassionate spaces in and of the community. There are currently 13 Jigsaw projects operating nationally in Ireland.