‘Active citizenship among youth vital for society’s well-being’ – Ritchie

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012

SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has outlined the importance of young people becoming actively engaged in their communities through voluntary groups and writing to local politicians on issues of interest to them.

Ms Ritchie was speaking following a speech she delivered at Grey Coat Comprehensive School in London on the topic of citizenship. She also discussed with the all girls’ school pupils the challenges of being a female MP in a male dominated profession.

Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “It was a real pleasure to speak to year 9 pupils at this outstanding comprehensive school on the importance of studying citizenship which helps inform us what our role in society is. Being a citizen of a nation carries with it both rights and responsibilities. In our increasingly diverse society with many different groups within a nation, citizenship can sometimes be the only real bond which unites everybody as equals without discrimination.”

“I welcome the teaching of citizenship classes in our schools as it gives young people the ability to assess what their status is in society and how they can contribute to their community in a variety of ways. Citizenship involves some form of political participation, but this can vary from token acts to active service in politics.”

She added, “Democracies require active, informed and responsible citizens who are willing to contribute to the political process. I would encourage all our young people to use their voice by engaging in the political process and thinking about how they can help enhance our society by partaking in active citizenship.”

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