Last chance for students in Wicklow to enter National speech writing competition

All the finalists Action Talks with Karol Balfe

Friday 13th January is the final day for students from Wicklow to enter the ActionTalks national speech writing competition.  

The competition, now in its ninth year, is an opportunity for young people to explore the root causes of local and global injustices and inequalities. This year’s themes focus on the climate emergency, unpaid care work and economic injustice.  

Entries to the competition can be submitted to ActionAid by email in written form and fifteen successful entrants will go forward to the regionals final, with six regional winners winning a €50 voucher each. At the national final in March, the six finalists will be asked to present their speech to a panel of esteemed judges. The national prize is a €500 voucher for the winner and a €100 voucher for their teacher. 

ActionAid is hoping entrants will come up with innovative, well-researched, and creative speeches, using their own unique perspective. The competition is designed to build students’ skills such as researching, writing, critical thinking and public speaking.

To take part in the ActionTalks competition, students aged 14 to 18 are invited to write a 600 to 800 words speech on one of the following topics and submit them to ActionAid via email.  

·        Current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt are not enough to tackle the speed and scale of climate change, meaning that some losses and damages from climate change are inevitable. Women and children in particular on the front line. Rich countries should pay their fair share for the loss and damage their energy consumption has caused in poorer nations.  

·        Care, both paid and unpaid, while largely a burden for women, is the responsibility of everyone in society and there should be a human right to care. Discuss.  

·        Education is a right for all children. Beyond aid and charity, what are the ways that the Irish government could support children accessing education (for example through tax structures, debt and economic policies) 

Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland said: “We’ve heard from teachers across the country that students have been writing speeches on economic and climate justice. We’re excited to read the speeches and to hear what young people have to say on important issues like unpaid care work, how we can promote education as a human right, and on climate loss and damage. Today we are reminding students to be sure to enter their speeches before the deadline of Friday 13th January.” 

ActionAid works with women and children, as they take the lead in claiming their human rights to build a more just world. ActionAid’s Women’s Rights programme, funded by Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, works to eliminate violence against women and girls. Irish Aid programmes are funded by Irish citizens and are part of Ireland’s important global role.  

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

Photo credit: Maxwell photography

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