‘If I was Taoiseach for a day’

Sam takes to stage for Child Talks 2022

Sam Brooks from Taughmaconnell in South Roscommon spoke about the importance of public transport in rural Ireland at the Child Talks event hosted by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) on Friday, 18th of November.

Now in its fifth year, Child Talks gives children a platform to share their experiences on issues that are important to them.

Inspired by the location, the theme of this year’s Child Talks was ‘If I were Taoiseach for a day…’. During his talk, Sam who is aged 17, explained the impact that local route closures would have on his choices for college.

“People should not be limited by the meagre amount of destinations currently offered by public transport in Ireland. Take proposals such as the Western Rail Corridor which by some estimates would see nearly a million passengers a year or the Athlone-Mullingar Rail link which would be invaluable in carrying students from Mullingar and Moate to Galway and vice versa. It’s high time proposals like these were taken seriously by our government.

“At the end of the day public transport is so much more about the journey from A to B. I myself would not be the person I am today without public transport. So if I was Taoiseach for the day I would aim to deliver cheap or even free public transit fares”.

Sam was one of a group of young speakers aged 11-17 to take part in Child Talks this year, with other topics on the day including homelessness, autism supports, accessibility, female empowerment, listening to children, and the Irish Language. Child Talks was also streamed live in classrooms across the country.