A Portstewart teenager stepped into the House of Commons Despatch Box as part of the UK Youth Parliament’s contribution to the annual Parliament Week.
Jack McCann was selected to be Northern Ireland’s representative speaker in the Commons debate.
A final year student at Loreto College Coleraine, Jack has had a busy 18 months in local and national youth politics.
As a winner of the Rotary Youth Leadership award in 2011-2012, he took part in debates in Stormont, Dail Eireann and the European Parliament, Strasbourg in February this year.
Also in the early part of 2012, Jack became a local representative in the Northern Ireland Youth Forum and the UK Youth Parliament, as well as becoming Northern Ireland’s only representative in the UK’s first Youth Select Committee, which recently presented a comprehensive report into provision of better public transport services for young people.
Jack has brought the expertise from the Youth Select Committee to bear in chairing the subcommittee investigating youth transport in the Northern Ireland Youth Forum.
He is also involved as one of the leaders of the NIYF’s ‘Votes at Sixteen’ campaign, which was recently debated (with motion carried) by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Last month Jack was one of six political enthusiasts to win a competition run on social-networking site Twitter to travel to London and spend a half-day touring the Foreign Office headquarters at Whitehall, including the opportunity to have an hour’s conversation with the Foreign Secretary, William Hague MP.
With a passion for local and national politics, Jack has worked hard to avail of all these impressive opportunities, and has risen admirably to the challenge they have set.
He said: “I feel really privileged to have this opportunity and all of the others I’ve received in the last 18 months.
“Engaging young people in the democratic process and giving them a platform to discuss the important issues for them is paramount if we are to live in an inclusive society.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to give a speech in the House of Commons and it was exciting too that the debate was broadcast live on the BBC Parliament channel.”
Jack was congratulated on these highly impressive achievements by Loreto principal Michael James.
With all these achievements to date, it’s clear that Jack has a bright future ahead of him – very possibly in the world of politics!