Students invited to take part in national speech writing competition

ActionAid Ireland is calling for young people in Dublin aged 14 to 17 to write a five minute speech for the ActionTalks national speech writing competition!

The competition, now in its eighth year, encourages young people to take a stand on social issues, and gives them an opportunity to voice their opinions. Entries will be submitted by email in written form and five successful entrants will go forward to the Leinster final.  Two winners from Leinster will be selected to go forward to the national final and will receive a €50 One4All voucher each. At the national final in March, six finalists will be asked to present their speech to a panel of esteemed judges. The national prize is a €500 One4All voucher for the winner and a €100 One4All voucher for their teacher.

This year’s topics are focused on the inequalities and injustices exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly gender inequality and social inequality.

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of unpaid work in the home (e.g., childminding, caretaking, household functioning), with women often bearing the brunt of this work. How can we redistribute unpaid work in a way that is fair for everyone?
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, incidences of gender-based violence rose, both in Ireland and internationally. What can Ireland do?
  • Unfair access to vaccines has meant that those living in the poorest countries will suffer the worst effects of the pandemic. The inequalities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of global solidarity and international aid. Discuss.

Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland said: “The coronavirus pandemic has exposed ongoing social and economic inequalities across communities. Global solidarity and international aid are needed now more than ever. We are excited to give young people an opportunity to engage with these issues. It’s brilliant to see young people using their talents to bring greater awareness to issues of social justice. We have seen first-hand, through our Irish Aid funded women’s rights programme the importance of international aid, and the real-life impact it has on marginalised communities.”

Over the course of the pandemic, students in Ireland have faced long lockdowns and missed out on vital school time. The pandemic has placed a massive strain on marginalised groups globally.

  • Covid-19 has placed a serious roadblock on the path to long-term sustainable development in many countries. In 2020 alone, as many as 124 million people globally fell into poverty.
  • Less than 1% of the African population have been fully vaccinated, despite representing 16% of the global population.
  • As many as 96 million people have been pushed into food security as a direct result of the pandemic.

Women and girls have been particularly affected by the pandemic, both in Ireland and abroad. School closures have led to an increase in instances of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Women have also taken on the brunt of the increase in unpaid household and childcare work, putting them under greater social and economic strain.

ActionAid provides long term support to the poorest and most marginalised women and children in developing countries, so they can overcome the obstacles holding them back. Their Women’s Rights programme, funded by Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, works to eliminate violence against women and girls by engaging with women, men and girls to. In communities in Kenya, female genital mutilation amongst girls has decreased by almost a third. Irish Aid programmes are funded by Irish citizens and are part of Ireland’s important global role.

ActionAid is hoping entrants will come up with innovative, well-researched, and creative speeches, using their own unique perspective from growing up in a pandemic. 

 To enter, students can ask their teacher for details or visit

Sarah Brooks

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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