The Ballyclare teenager met with Junior Ministers Robin Newton and Gerry Kelly, who have responsibility for children and young people’s issues in the Northern Ireland Executive.
“Too often all we hear in the media are negative stories about young people,” said Richard. “A survey carried out by NICCY’s Youth Panel last year demonstrated that newspapers rarely tell the true, positive story about the majority of Northern Ireland’s teenagers’ lives.
“I hope that after meeting with the Junior Ministers, they will bring forward ways they can combat negative stereotyping, and when they speak to the media and to their constituents they remember that there are thousands of young people contributing to society each and every day.”
NICCY’s Youth Panel will be working on the issue of negative stereotyping over coming weeks.
Richard was accompanied by Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley and NICCY Chief Executive Gerry Campbell.
“Richard brought an important point to the Ministers’ attention,” said Ms Lewsley. “The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child identified that negative stereotyping needs to be addressed by Government.
“I hope that this and all the issues identified by the UN Committee will be tackled and that the Junior Ministers will bring forward an action plan that will promote and safeguard those rights and make sure Government departments act in the best interests of children and young people.”
Other topics covered in the meeting between NICCY and the Junior Ministers were: tackling child poverty, the forthcoming Government play strategy and working on behalf of children and young people across all government departments.
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