Jonathan Walsh, CBC Cork student, wins the ActionTalks Speech Writing Competition

  • Date: 31/03/2022
  • Author: Jane Murray

Jonathan Walsh a student at Christian Brothers College Cork has been chosen as the winner in ActionTalks, which is a national speech writing competition run by ActionAid, open to all students aged 14 to 17 year olds. Jonathan will receive a €500 One4all Voucher, and his teacher, Edward Newman, will receive a €100 One4All voucher.

After being chosen from over 130 entrants, and then winning the regional finals, six students delivered their speeches in historic Woodquay Dublin this week to a panel of expert judges. It was the first in person final of the competition since 2019. Students competing on the day included Anna McSweeney and Jonathan Walsh from Munster, Elle Walsh Giguere and Caoimhe Spain from Leinster, and Aine Gilhooly and Hannah McNally who won the Connacht/Ulster heat of the competition.

All the finalists displayed great skill and clarity in conveying their message across to the audience. However, Jonathan was chosen as the winner, by displaying a great understanding and analysis on the issue of vaccine inequity, delivered with great passion.

Judges on the day were: CEO of AkiDwA, which is a national network of migrant women living in Ireland, Dr Salome Mbugua; former MEP and Lord Mayor of Dublin and current Policy & Advocacy Manager with the Irish Development Education Association Emer Costello; Assistant General Secretary with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland and Board Member with ActionAid Ireland Moira Leydon; and Programme Coordinator with ActionAid Ireland Erick Onduru from Kenya.

The competition, now in its eighth year, aims to engage young people with global issues, including gender equality and sustainable development, and challenging them to use their voice to create positive change. This year the competition focused on vaccine inequity globally, unpaid care work and violence against women.

ActionAid provides long term support and focuses on the human rights of women and children in developing countries, so they can overcome the obstacles holding them back. The approach is to empower local women to take control over their own lives. Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, funds an ActionAid Women’s Rights programme in Kenya, Nepal and Ethiopia. We use this funding to work with marginalised communities in an effort to prevent gender-based violence and support women gain an independent income. 

CEO of ActionAid Ireland Karole Balfe said:

“The standard and quality of the speeches submitted in this year’s competition was incredible. It was wonderful to see so many students across the country take part and share their views on global issues so articulately, and with such passion. It was truly inspiring, and I can safely say, I feel hopeful for the future with these young people. Jonathan displayed a true confidence in bringing his message on vaccine inequity across, and gave the audience a lot to think about. We are delighted to announce Johnathon as the winner of ActionTalks. Jonathan’s hard work is truly appreciated, and he should be very proud.”

You can read more about the ActionAid Women’s Rights programme here

Photo Credit: Jonathan Walsh. (Maxwell Photography)

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