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St Vincent’s Sadbh is ActionAid’s speech writing champion

Sadbh Boylan from St Vincent's Secondary School in Dundalk receives her prize.

St Vincent’s Secondary School student Sadbh Boylan was named one of two winners of the 2018 national ActionAid Speech Writing competition last week.

The local teenager joined Juliette O’Donnell from Coláiste Éinde in Galway as the winners of the prestigious competition, the final of which was held at the Royal Irish Academy on Wednesday, March 21st.


Sadbh was one of nine finalists who emphatically delivered her speech in front of the panel of judges including former RTE broadcaster Rodney Rice and Action Aid chairman Rodney Rice and Hans Zomer, who is the Head of Communications for President Michael D Higgins.

The speeches were judged on their delivery, writing skills and understanding of the topic with Sadbh praised for her understanding and enthusiasm towards human rights in a superb display of research, critical thinking and originality.

Speaking afterwards, Sadbh admitted her victory came as a shock. “I’m really excited and surprised to win the competition!” she said.

“I didn’t know much about the Sustainable Development Goals before but I did a lot of research and now recognise the importance of overseas development aid, and understand how it can bring us closer to reaching sustainable development.”

The joint winners of the first prize Sadbh and Juliette will now travel to Brussels in June as part of their prize. There, accompanied by teachers and representatives by ActionAid, they will meet with members of the European Parliament and organisations active on women’s rights, youth and development.

Sadbh and Juliette saw off competition from over 130 other entries from 40 different schools all across the country. The speech topics were based on one of three topics relating to women’s rights and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the latter of which Sadbh chose.

The annual ActionAid Speech Writing competition is funded by Irish Aid. Irish Aid funds an ActionAid Women’s Rights Programme in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nepal with a public engagement focus in Ireland to raise awareness about these global issues.

Action Aid CEO Siobhan McGee congratulated both girls for their achievement, saying they “had the edge in terms of their understanding of the issues and application to the project.”

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