SLIGO WILL SEE hundreds of young members of Fianna Fáil converge on the town this weekend for its national conference.
More than 500 young Fianna Fáil members from across the country will attend what the party says is the largest youth political event in the country over the next two days.
This year, Fianna Fáil’s National Youth Conference focuses on youth mental health, jobs and the challenges facing graduates. The delegates will also vote for a new President of Ógra Fianna Fáil and a new Central Officer Board that will be represented on the Fianna Fáil Ard Comhairle.
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin described the conference as a key event in the renewal of the party, which has seen new opinion polls placing it as the most popular political party in Ireland.
Fianna Fáil has spent the last two years empowering its younger members and giving them a stronger voice within the party. Ógra Fianna Fáil is now the largest youth political organisation in country, doubling its enrolment at third level institutions across the country at the start of this academic year.
He added that the focus this year is on what he believes to be the most critical issue facing young people today – mental health. “We have had very honest discussions about the pressures facing young people today and the feeling of desperation when they or a loved one gets into difficulty and they don’t know where to turn,” said Martin.
The conference also focuses on youth unemployment, said Sligo Senator Marc Mac Sharry, who opened the conference this weekend. “The discussions this weekend have centred on the need for targeted measures to support graduates in starting their careers here in Ireland and provide real opportunities for young people seeking work,” he said.
The guest speakers at the event include CEO of Inspire Ireland Elaine Geraghty, Chief Operating Officer at Headstrong Joseph Duffy, former president of the Medical Council Dr John Hillery, funding and advocacy director at Pieta House Tom McEvoy, head of innovation at Sligo IT Niall McEvoy, former USI president Gary Redmond and INMO student representative Aishling Maher.