Young Social Innovators (YSI) is a very popular element of the Transition Year programme in Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton. Young Social Innovators is a programme for young people who want to make a positive change in their community. Coláiste Mhuire has been involved in this programme for the last 10 years, qualifying for the finals on many occasions and emerging as overall winners our category twice in the last three years. This year a group of TY students decided to focus on the issue of rural crime. Their project entitled CRIMETIME aimed to examine how the West Limerick area has been impacted following the closure of Garda stations in 2012. They researched the level of policing in the local area and gathered statistics on how the level of crime has changed since 2012. They also spoke to local Gardaí and politicians in order to highlight their concerns about rural crime. They have been very busy, setting up Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and they have presented their project on Live 95FM and West Limerick Radio. They invited Tom Neville Fine Gael TD and Garda Tracy Gleeson into their TY class, both of whom gave them many tips and ideas for their project. They also spoke with representatives of the Save Our Local Community group from Tipperary. They have put together an information booklet with relevant statistics. They devised an acronym of the word Crime, giving tips on how to protect your home and created A2 posters to be displayed in local businesses. They have also secured over one thousand signatures to date on their petition which asks people how they feel about the Garda presence in their area.
Thursday 28th April saw the official launch of their findings in Coláiste Mhuire. The event was very well supported. Tom Neville TD returned as promised for the launch. The students were delighted to welcome Brendan Coleman, Michael Ryan and Francis Burke from the Save Our Local Community group who travelled from Tipperary and Cllrs Emmett O’Brien, Kevin Sheahan and Stephen Keary who showed their support by attending the launch. Sergeant Dave Callinan, Garda Aidan Haddock, Community Garda Cathy Healy and Fr Sean O’Longaigh were delighted to support the students as were Spin South West with Eoin and Stephen broadcasting the students’ endeavours on the airwaves. Sponsorship by Wyeth and Cois Sionna Credit Union was instrumental to the development of the project and the students were delighted to welcome Bernie O’Dea and Rachel Cregan from the Credit Union. The students now head to the YSI National Showcase on May 10th, having secured a place in the national final again this year. We wish them the very best of luck!