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East & West Belfast students “Talk Politics” to local MLAs

More than 60 sixth form students from schools in East and West Belfast got together recently to quiz their local MLAs on the issues affecting them, their schools and their communities. The panel was hosted by seasoned BBC Political Correspondent Martina Purdy and the event itself was held in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Assembly's Education Service and the Peace and Reconciliation Group.

As well as debating directly with their MLAs, the pupils also got the opportunity to take part in round table discussions where they were able to talk in more depth about education, health and employment. The event ended with a mock election where the students also got a chance to discuss and challenge traditional voting patterns.

Welcoming the young people to Parliament Buildings, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly William Hay MLA said that he was very pleased to see this worthwhile event take place and noted that it was important that every opportunity is taken to encourage local young people to become involved with the democratic process and to engage directly with their elected representatives.