Students take part in model council debate
Schools from Co Wicklow were among 25 schools to compete at the 2019 Model Council of the European Union in Dublin Castle last week.
The schools from all over Ireland gathered to debate how the EU should spend its budget for the period 2021 to 2027 - a highly topical issues as EU Member States are actively discussing the European Commission's proposed Multiannual Financial Framework for that period. Each school represented one EU Member State and, before the debate, researched the issues for the country they are role-playing. The Ambassadors from each EU country came to Dublin Castle to meet the students representing their home country at the model council.
St Columba's College from Co Donegal (representing Croatia) were deemed the winners of the competition, although honourable mentions were given to St Mary's College in Arklow (representing the UK) and Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in Rathnew (representing Denmark).
The debate was opened by Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee and chaired by Senator Neale Richmond.
'The students demonstrated an impressive understanding of the spending priorities of the Member State they represented,' said Senator Richmond. '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.'
Throughout the day, the performance of each team was carefully evaluated by the judges, Noelle O'Connell, Executive Director of the European Movement Ireland, and James Temple Smithson, the Head of the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland.
Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness MEP presented the prizes to the winning and runner-up teams.