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Pupils from across Belfast give their ideas for future

Sasha Todd from Bloomfield Collegiate, Rebecca Todd of Mercy College, Sean Quinn from St Mary's and Nathan Haughan of Mitchell House at the UU event. Picture by Mal McCann

PUPILS born in the same year of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement met community leaders yesterday to present their ideas for the future of Belfast.

Almost 100 students from 25 schools across the city came together to discuss the legacy of the agreement, which was signed in 1998.

The Listening to Our Young Leaders event at Ulster University in Belfast was part of the 4 Corners Festival.

Among the topics covered included politics, religion in schools and homelessness.

The sixth form pupils exchanged views and presented their ideas for the future to community leaders, including Belfast deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence and Dr Michael Wardlow from the Equality Commission.

Kirsten Webb (18) from Methodist College, Belfast said: "It has been great to be able to get together with schools from all over Belfast.

"We have been discussing how we want to see changes in the city and feel we are given being the chance to gain awareness of politics and what's really going on.

"We are 18 and are able to vote, but we feel we don't know a lot and politics and schools should be doing more to educate students."

Eoghan McKenna from St Mary's Grammar on the Glen Road said the event provided a platform to discuss a variety of topics, including issues such as homeless in the city.

North Belfast-based priest Fr Martin Magill, co-founder of the 4 Corners Festival, said the event was about "listening to young people speaking about their hopes for Belfast in the future and what they would like to see our politicians deal with in the assembly".

Professor Alastair Adair, Ulster University Pro Vice Chancellor, said the event was an "essential part of the University's civic engagement as we seek to inspire and motivate future generations of students and citizens to achieve their ambitions and be a positive force for good in our society."

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