TWO East Clare secondary schools recently participated in a model European Union council debate in Dublin Castle which was organised by the European Commission and European Parliament offices in Ireland
St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla represented Bulgaria while St Anne’s Community College in Killaloe portrayed Slovenia in a debate focusing on the EU budget
Both Clare-based schools joined forces with 23 other schools who had previously been chosen to partake in the annual event
Before the debate, students and teachers from Killaloe and Tulla researched the issues that currently affect the country that they role-played and got to meet ambassadors from the countries they were representing
The informed pupils discussed the “highly topical” subject of the European Commission’s proposed ‘Multiannual Financial Framework’ for 2021-2027, which outlines how the EU should spend its budget for that period
During the debate, chair Senator Neale Richmond (FG), praised the students on their “impressive understanding” of the spending priorities and issues concerning the countries they represented.
“They portrayed very creatively how member states defend their interests in such a complex negotiation and – with great diplomatic potential – came to some clear conclusions on how the EU budget should be spent,” he said
Throughout the event, the performance of each team was carefully evaluated by judges Noelle O’Connell, executive director of the European Movement Ireland, and James Temple Smithson, head of the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland.
Students from St Columba’s College, Stranorlar in Donegal claimed top honour in the event, while runners-up were Maynooth Post-Primary from Kildare.
The annual Model Council of the European Union ensures that schools selected to participate are given the opportunity to represent an EU member state and bring the agenda of their adoptive country to the council.