I was delighted and honoured to attend the Young Social Innovators’ Speak Out event at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe today.

It is really inspiring to see teams of young people coming together to work on projects that promote active citizenship and social innovation.

It is also especially refreshing when projects like #TellYourTD encourage engagement with the political process.

Other featured projects by YSI groups have focussed on homelessness, education, physical and mental well-being, the downside and the benefits of social media – especially for older people – and the natural environment, equality, and negative labelling. Schools from Galway at the YSI event included Presentation College, Tuam, East Galway Youth Project Group, Garbally College, Ballinasloe and Dominican College, Galway.

Young Social Innovators is an organisation that aims to promote education for social innovation.

It was founded as a pilot programme in 2001 by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy with the aim of examining new and emerging social needs in Ireland and ways in which to respond to them.

It was set up as a company in 2005 and is supported by my Department, the Department for Rural and Community Development, as well as other public bodies and private sponsors.