On 22 October, An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, announced the Shared Island Dialogue series, as part of the Government’s Shared Island initiative.
The first Shared Island Dialogue took place online on 26 November 2020, on “New Generations and New Voices on the Good Friday Agreement”.
This Dialogue listened to the views of young people, North and South on the island, on a shared future underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.
The Dialogue consisted of two plenary panel discussions followed by breakout sessions.
To shape the event, participants were asked to suggest two issues or themes they would like to see discussed.
The Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) was invited to nominate ONE youth representative to take part in this Dialogue, reflecting the theme“New Generations and New Voices on the Good Friday Agreement”
CIYD contacted the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Youth Officer, Hilda Connolly, to see if she might like to put a name forward from the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
Keelan Shorten, from Ross Union (Castleventry Parish), was contacted as he has often expressed a keen interest in this area. He was very eager to be considered.
Keelan was delighted to be selected to go forward to be the youth representative for the Church of Ireland Youth Department
Read what Keelan had to say about the event:
On Thursday 26th November I had the opportunity to be the CIYD representative in an online discussion forum as part of the Shared Island Initiative.
The event had young people from across the island of Ireland representing many diverse backgrounds. The day began with a message from An Taoiseach Mícheál Martin and then we heard from some speakers reflecting on their own experiences before some smaller discussion groups. It was a great opportunity as many interesting points from different viewpoints around our island were raised.
We talked about the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement, which for us – the generation who were born after the Agreement was signed and grew up in Ireland after the Troubles – was a very important discussion to have. We do not remember the Troubles first-hand, and while the legacy of history is passed onto us the traditional lines dividing us may not always apply.
We talked about how the Ireland we grew up in is a changed Ireland from that of previous generations. What really came across for me though was that although this event showed the variety of cultural identities and experiences across Ireland, we all share in the ideal of having a Shared Island for the benefit of all.
Thanks again for the opportunity!
It was a great opportunity for Keelan to be selected and it was also an honour for our Diocese as well!