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Four Irish Youth Sailors on Tall Ship Voyage to New Zealand

4th January 2018
Yseult Travers (Dublin), Neil O’Hagan (Atlantic Youth Trust), Aoife Donohoe (Wicklow), Jane Thompson (Duke Of Edinburgh / Antrim), Connor McGurgan (Antrim), Tiarnan Beresford (Waterford) Yseult Travers (Dublin), Neil O’Hagan (Atlantic Youth Trust), Aoife Donohoe (Wicklow), Jane Thompson (Duke Of Edinburgh / Antrim), Connor McGurgan (Antrim), Tiarnan Beresford (Waterford)

Four lucky teenagers from across the island of Ireland are on their way to New Zealand to take part in a once in a lifetime 10-day youth development tall ship voyage on the stunning Spirit of New Zealand.

The Atlantic Youth Trust organised the trip is in conjunction with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Gaisce. The cross-border collaboration is an important milestone in the refinement of the Atlantic Youth Trust’s plans for an all island youth development tall ship organisation.

The Trust’s plans are very advanced within both Northern Ireland and the Republic following their inclusion in the ‘A Fresh Start: Stormont Agreement’ in 2015 and Programme for Government. Taoiseach Leo also expressed his interest in the cross-border initiative when he met the Atlantic Youth Trust’s Neil O’Hagan at Seafest in Galway last year.
Speaking about the trip Atlantic Youth Trust’s Neil O'Hagan said:  “This trip marks the Atlantic Youth Trust’s fifth engagement with the Spirit of Adventure Trust in New Zealand. Following a global study, we realised they are the best in the world at providing consistent youth development opportunities to teens of all ability and means. It is now widely accepted that this is the best model for our island to pursue. When you look at the combined capacity of Asgard II and Lord Rank, the increases in population and the modern safety standards it all makes sense.”

A wider Atlantic Youth Trust delegation of trustees and supporters will join the group in mid-January to meet with the Board of the Spirit of Adventure Trust. Following the voyage there will be an Ireland – New Zealand breakfast event to launch a new bursary scheme to encourage further cooperation between the two organisations.

Progress with the wider project is said to be slow and steady. A meeting of the lead government departments from Northern Irish and Irish governments is set to take place late January where the findings of the New Zealand trip will be reported to the government officials. It is expected there will be a major announcement about the project later in the year.

Published in Tall Ships Team

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