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Grainne wins national rotary youth leadership award


Grainne Ni Ailin pictured being presented with her award.

Grainne Ni Ailin pictured being presented with her award.

Grainne Ni Ailin pictured being presented with her award.


A student from Meánscoil Gharman in Enniscorthy is one of only 14 teenagers from all over Ireland to be conferred with a Rotary Youth Leadership award.

Grainne Ni Ailin received her award at the European Parliament’s offices in Dublin where she was presented with the award by the District Governor of Rotary Ireland, David Murray, and Patrick O’Riordan, who is the PR offcer with the European Parliament.

Grainne was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wexford. 

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The competition, which is one of Rotary Ireland’s longest running youth projects, rewards young people with clear leadership potential based on their extra-curricular activities. It is run in conjunction with the EU offices in Dublin and Euroscola in Strasbourg.

Grainne is currently Regional Officer of the Irish Second Level Students Union and co-chairperson of her school’s Student Council.

She is also very involved in sport and plays camogie, football, and soccer. 

Commenting on her latest achievement she said she got “a huge amount” from the competition: “I learnt about issues and topics that not only affect us locally but also on a global level and how we can tackle these issues.”

“I learned that no matter how many leaders are in a group, teamwork is what matters and I made lifelong friends and memories that I will never forget,” she said.

Usually, the award winners enjoy an exciting, six-day, all expenses paid team building trip to Belfast, Dublin and Strasbourg including visits to the Titanic Centre, a tour of Stormont, a visit to the European Parliament offices in Dublin and a tour of Dail Eireann.

They then fly out to Strasbourg for a full day of debating a variety of motions at Euroscola, at the European Parliament, with about 500 other students from all over Europe while also taking in the sights of Strasbourg.

Unfortunately, this year due to Covid the Strasbourg element and some of the tours didn’t proceed, however, the group did visit the Titanic Centre and City Hall in Belfast in addition to getting tours of Dublin Castle and Trinity College.

The final part of the trip was a visit to the EU’s Dublin office, Europe House, and a showcase event in The Freemasons Hall in Dublin city centre where the students made presentations on a range of issues to a panel including Green MEP, Ciaran Cuffe.

Some of the topics included European security, climate change and the environment, and migration.

Mr Murray said the standard of the presentations was hugely impressive.

“I have to compliment Grainne and all of this year’s winners for the extremely high standard of their presentations,” he said.

“This year the programme was unfortunately curtailed due to Covid but the response of this group to that and everything else Covid has thrown at them has been really impressive,” he added.

"The resilience and enthusiasm they have shown in their local communities and during this programme reflects so well on all our young people.”

The Rotary Youth Leadership Development Competition is open to 16 and 17-year-olds who are living on the island of Ireland and more information about the initiative can be found www.rotary-ribi.org.