The Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s project arose from the results of the focus group consultations conducted with learner target groups of long-term unemployed, migrants and refugees and unemployed young people. It was discovered that the main obstacles to democratic engagement were a lack of knowledge on how to register to vote, on how Irish democracy works and a lack of faith in politicians and the political process.
The project’s goal is to remove these obstacles. Firstly, we facilitated our target groups in registering to vote for the upcoming local and EU elections. This included helping learners fill out the forms and providing a bus to take them to the local Garda station to have the forms endorsed. Secondly, in order to raise awareness and enthusiasm, we organised a political debate on the theme of Democracy doesn’t serve the people! This was chaired by a professor of political science from the University of Limerick and was adjudicated by invited local politicians. The project will continue to encourage civic and political engagement by organising further debates and events as well as running courses and workshops on political themes.
Finally the ‘journey’ the project and the target groups undertake will be recorded, documented and presented at the end of the project as a digital narrative. This will be shared and disseminated locally, regionally and internationally to hopefully inspire others to become more active and engaged in society.