A NORTH Kerry woman who attended the launch of the European Year of Citizens in Dublin on Thursday believes there is a great need for more direct interaction between the ordinary people of Ireland and EU officials.
Carlynn McCathy form Lixnaw was one of over 200 people who took part in a question and answers session with Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Greighton and Vice president of the European Commission Viviane Reding in Dublin City Hall on Thursday last.
She was representing the group Youth, Media and Irish Presidency - made up of 25 young people who will act as 'citizen journalists' during the Irish presidency until June.
The aim of the debate was to allow the people of Ireland air their views on a variety of issues within three main categories - economic crisis, the rights of European citizens and the future of the European Union. While Carlynn said the initiative was a very good one, she believes it should not be a once off event.
"It was a really good event and allowed citizens speak directly to Irish and EU representatives about what they feel are important issues and concerns," she said. "However, there should definitely be more of these events planned during the next six months because it would allow more people to get involved and alow officials hear more concerns from the Irish people."
Carylnn, who studied EU Integration Studies at UCC, said that EU leaders and officials are very much aware that people are not happy with what's going on in Europe and that there is a mistrust there. However, she believes that by holding more sessions such as that on Thursday, opinions may change.
"It would also be good for citizens to see that officials are here and are interacting with the people. It's not only good for the EU's image but for improving people's perceptions of the EU," she said.