James Savage Elected As Member of the Youth Parliament For Strangford

A teenager from Killyleagh has been elected to the Youth Parliament.

This year’s Youth Parliament elections in Northern Ireland saw 12,831 young people cast their vote for the individual they feel will represent them and campaign on the issues they feel are important.

18 Members of Youth Parliament will now champion the voices of young people engaging with young people in their constituency, shape UK Youth Parliament policy and campaigns and encourage young people to take part in UK Youth Parliament’s UK-wide consultation ‘Make Your Mark’ this summer, which saw 41,488 young people from across Northern Ireland take part last year.

Cue-ing up for a career in politics... James Savage at the Bridge Centre in Killyleagh during a youth club night.
Cue-ing up for a career in politics… James Savage at the Bridge Centre in Killyleagh during a youth club night.

UK Youth Parliament has previously campaigned on issues such as mental health, votes at 16, education and transport. This year’s UK-wide campaign is #DontHateEducate formed to address race and religious discrimination in the UK.

The elections, in their third year, were organised by the charity, the British Youth Council, with support of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum.

On Wednesday 13 April the results of the UK Youth Parliament elections were announced and James Savage from Killyleagh was elected by a margin of 122 votes to represent the young people of Strangford.

James Savage pictured with former Down Council Chairman Cllr Billy Walker in 2014.
James Savage pictured with former Down Council Chairman Cllr Billy Walker in 2014.

James is an A-level student in Down High School studying Government and Politics. He  formerly attended Blackwater Integrated College and added: “I am very appreciative of the support the two schools had given me throughout my campaign to get elected on to the Youth Parliament.

“I am proud to have been elected to represent the young people of Strangford and I want to thank everyone who voted for me and supported my campaign. I will try my best to give my constituents effective representation. I will now work with councilors, MLA’s and MP’s from across Northern Ireland and my fellow MYP’s to campaign on issues and effect real change.

“I plan to campaign on many issues including lowering the voting age to 16 and education.

“I think a big issue is making sure that Northern Ireland conforms to the GCSE grading system being used across the UK to make sure that students have the best chance to get good grades.

“Health care is an important issue and I want the Downe Hospital to be fully operational for people in Strangford to use. I also want more youth facilities in rural areas including better play parks, this is an important issue for the Killyleagh Area Youth Forum of which I am Chairman”.

Rowallene Newry Mourne and Down District Councillor Billy Walker congratulated James Savage on his election to the Youth Parliament and said: “James has a great interest in politics and shadowed men on work experience in the old legacy Down District Council when I was its last chairman.

“Since then he has progressed on to the Down High School from Blackwater Integrated High School to study for his A-Levels. In recent months he has been very lucky to have spent days shadowing the former DETI Minister, First Minister Arlene Foster, Simon Hamilton, Health Minister and Michelle McIlveen, DRD Minister.

“James too is the first chairman of the Killyleagh and District Youth Forum. I know they have very positive plans and they will certainly be knocking on my door for help with issues such as providing a local playwark and other matters. James is determined to make a difference to life around this area and I wish him the very best in his career in politics and every success in the Youth Parliament.”