13/12/2001

Children’s art on the cards at Stormont

The winners of a children’s competition to design this year’s official Stormont Christmas card have been welcomed by ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive.

Nine young people were selected as winners in a competition which attracted over 140 entries from children’s and victims’ groups, to design this year’s official Christmas card for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Speaking at the prize giving ceremony, in Parliament Buildings, Denis Haughey and Dermot Nesbitt, Ministers in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister said that they had been impressed with the quality of the children’s artwork and stressed the importance placed by the administration on children’s issues.

Mr Haughey said: “This unique competition, which was aimed specifically at children and young victims of violence, has resulted in a showcase for some very talented artists. Clearly, we have tapped a seam of talent and I hope that everyone who took part – and not only the winners – will have enjoyed the experience of competing and now seeing their work on display.

“Children are a particular focus for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, which is responsible for protecting the rights of all children in this community. With the intention to put in place a Children's Commissioner, it seems appropriate that the official Christmas card should be designed by someone from the age group that we are determined to safeguard.”

Mr Nesbitt said: “I am particularly pleased that so many young people have taken part in the competition. Some of the competitors have suffered either directly or indirectly as a result of the Troubles, yet their enthusiasm and the vibrancy of youth shone out from the pictures.

“While in any competition there have to be winners, as well as those who have not quite made the final selection, we can all be impressed by both the number who took part, and the obvious quality of their work.

“This display of talent clearly demonstrates one aspect of the value of our children and young people. It highlights the importance of moving forward with the Children's Strategy, to ensure that all children in Northern Ireland have their rights protected and are allowed to grow in a safe and secure environment.” (AMcE)

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