DEceMber 2019

Welcoming the Young Ireland Programme delegates to Scotland is always a highlight of our year and the 2019 delegate group lived up to all of our expectations – and more. Their warmth, enthusiasm and mutual support contributed hugely to making this year's event a great success.

On the final evening (Thursday 21 November) Dearbhla Dunne from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, was named Ireland Young Thinker of the Year. Her passionate, indeed fiery paper, complete with its disarming light touches, tore through flabby arguments that people receiving social welfare are 'sponging off the state'. Her writing was well-sustained and measured, never losing its humane focus, and with a pay-off that was hard-hitting and rounded her paper perfectly.

Niamh Dunne (Kildare County Council) took the runner-up title with a well-researched, well-constructed paper on homelessness, written from the heart and delivered with a commanding presence at the lectern. Rob Buchanan (Fingal County Council) and Ashley Minogue (Office of the Information Commissioner) were jointly highly commended and Mary Mockler (Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland) was commended.

Group FAnna Ciolkowska, Coillte, Sinead Martin, Kildare County Council, Aaron O'Sullivan, Department of Justice and Equality and Rebecca Ryder, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – was the winning group in the Group Challenge for a presentation on 'courage'. Aaron also won the Best 90 Second Challenge with his question 'Niceness – is it underrated?' Click here for photos.

Looking ahead to next year, we are already excited about the coming together under one roof of delegates from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland at our first event of 2020 in January. This event is now fully booked.

The first Young England and Wales Programme of the year will be held in Lancaster in February (25th to 28th) and is open for booking. Click here for brochure with full details and booking form.

The dates for the 2020 Young Local Authority of the Year have just been announced. Teams of two from across the UK will gather in Lancaster for two days of exciting competition on 22 and 23 April. Watch this space for more details.

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