ActionTalks Speech Writing Competition

Elle and Karol Balfe Action Aid

Elle Walsh Giguere, a student at Our Lady’s School Terenure, has been chosen as runner up in the ActionTalks final this year, which is national speech writing competition run by ActionAid, open to all students aged 14 to 17 year olds. After being chosen from over 130 entrants, and then winning the regional finals, six students delivered their speeches in historic Woodquay Dublin this week to a panel of expert judges. It was the first in person final of the competition since 2019.

Elle displayed great skill and clarity in conveying their message across to the audience, and their passion for unpaid work was something to be admired. Elle was awarded with the prize of €50 One4All voucher as runner up. Judges on the day were: CEO of AkiDwA, which is a national network of migrant women living in Ireland, Dr Salome Mbugua; former MEP and Lord Mayor of Dublin and current Policy & Advocacy Manager with the Irish Development Education Association Emer Costello; Assistant General Secretary with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland and Board Member with ActionAid Ireland Moira Leydon; and Programme Coordinator with ActionAid Ireland Erick Onduru from Kenya.

The competition, now in its eighth year, aims to engage young people with global issues, including gender equality and sustainable development, and challenging them to use their voice to create positive change. This year the competition focused on vaccine inequity globally, unpaid care work and violence against women. ActionAid provides long term support and focuses on the human rights of women and children in developing countries, so they can overcome the obstacles holding them back. The approach is to empower local women to take control over their own lives. Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, funds an ActionAid Women’s Rights programme in Kenya, Nepal and Ethiopia. We use this funding to work with marginalised communities in an effort to prevent gender-based violence and support women gain an independent income. 

CEO of ActionAid Ireland Karole Balfe said: “The standard and quality of the speeches submitted in this year’s competition was incredible. We were delighted to see so many students across the country take part this year and share their views on global issues so articulately, and with such passion. It was truly inspiring, and I can safely say, I feel hopeful for the future with these young people!”

You can read more about the ActionAid Women’s Rights programme here

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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