A plan to enable each Irish child to develop their creative potential was launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today.

Creativity will be a vital key to devising solutions to the challenges, as yet unknown, that will face Ireland many years from now, he said.

The Creative Youth plan seeks to give every child and young person in Ireland practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and computer coding within the next five years.

The Taoiseach was joined by three government ministers at the plan’s national launch at St Laurence O’Toole’s Girls National School in Seville Place in Dublin’s north inner city. 

Mr Varadkar used straightforward words to explain to 20  girls in first and second class the value of art and creativity to society.

“We don’t really know what the jobs of the future are going to look like. Or what the future is going to look like,” said the Taoiseach.

“But we do know that it’s going to be really different. We think the best way to prepare you for the future is to help you to be creative because we know that it is creative people that always invent things.

“Even when  it’s not about jobs,  it gives us a much better life if we’re exposed to the arts and music and dance and all those days.

“So what today is really about is a plan that we’re putting forward to make sure that every child in the country has an exposure to arts and culture in school and that we really build on that,” he said.

The five year  Creative Youth plan is part of the Creative Ireland Programme. The plan will build on existing activities in schools and develop new projects and initiatives.

One of the initiatives in the first stage of the plan is the very successful Music Generation programme which currently reaches more than 40,000 children in developing their musical expression and skills. The plan will be extended nationwide over the next five years, said the Taoiseach.

“We know that children who get involved in the arts and cultural activities are happier, suffer less anxiety and do better in school,” he said.

“We want to encourage young people to be creative thinkers, to expand their minds and to ensure that have the chance to fully explore the joys of creative and cultural endeavour, whether that’s learning to code, dance or sing.

“This won’t just help them to prepare for the future, it will also add to their sense of well-being.

“Creative Youth has the potential to have a lasting and positive impact on this generation of young people, as it opens them up to a world of culture and creativity,” he said.

Also speaking at the event were Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Ms Josepha Madigan, Education Minister Richard Bruton and Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe.

All four Cabinet members were quizzed by the children about their own  interests in art and creativity.

The Taoiseach told the children he would have liked to have learned a musical instrument when he was a child but his family’s home was also a business (doctor’s surgery) which meant he was not allowed to make “noise.”

Minister Donohoe told the children he loved writing short stories and if he did not have a career in politics he would have liked to have made a living as a writer.

The girls then performed a spirited excerpt from their Christmas play for their VIP visitors.