Ryan praised for election win

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Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler has congratulated 16 year old Ryan Simpson, who has been elected to represent Lagan Valley in the UK Youth Parliament.

“I congratulate Ryan on his tremendous achievement on being democratically elected to this important parliament for young people and I wish him every success in this political career,” said Mr Butler.

“I had the privilege of spending some time with Ryan and gave him a tour of the Lisburn City Council facilities at the Lagan Valley Island Centre, where he had the chance to view the council chamber.”

During their meeting Ryan and Mr Butler discussed issues effecting young people and one of the main topics for discussion was the lowering of the voting age in the UK to 16.

“Our discussion revolved around three main issues; mental health awareness for children and young people, the living wage, and the right to vote at 16,” continued Mr Butler,

“My position on all three issues is quite clear. On mental health issues, the health department, in cooperation with the local council, should raise awareness of these vital issues seriously affecting many young people as part of the school curriculum to combat the effects of this terrible condition and equally ensure bullying is a thing of the past.

“On the living wage, I want to see our local council working with employers and traders to encourage an adoption of the living wage standard to help stimulate the local economy and improve the standard of living. And on lowering the voting age to 16, the UUP voted in 2012 to support this stance. I, too, fully support Ryan and the Youth Parliament and its drive to have this important democratic issue discussed at the highest level as we have already witnessed Scotland make this much-needed move.”

Commenting on his election to the Youth Parliament, Ryan said: “Not long after this meeting, I entered the election battle and during the campaign I promised to campaign on four policies - Modern Languages Education, Political Participation, Living Wage and Mental Health. I subsequently won the election, securing 57% of votes cast, but now the real work will begin.

“My year ahead contains speeches, meetings and lobbying, but I relish doing so.”