Representation in Ireland

Friday 23 April: Model Council of the European Union debate

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Students taking part in the 2020 Model Council debate
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The Model Council of the European Union is an annual debate for secondary schools organised by the European Commission Representation in Ireland in conjunction with the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland.  The debate is a simulation of a meeting of the Council of the European Union. Each EU Member State is represented by a team of students from a secondary school. For a list of participating schools, see here.

The debate will be live streamed below.

Date: 
23/04/2020 - 09:30 to 23/04/2021 - 12:30

The theme of the 2021 debate is Health, specifically a mock legislative proposal to provide increased responsibilities to the Health Security Committee in order to enforce a coordinated response at EU level to serious cross-border threats to health. Participating schools have been encouraged to research and adopt the 'real life' position of the assigned Member State.

A welcome address will be provided by Acting Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, Andy Klom. The event will be opened by Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD. Martina Fitzgerald, CEO of Scale Ireland and former RTÉ political correspondent will chair the debate. MEP Grace O’Sullivan will announce the prizes for the winning teams.

The debate judges are Noelle O'Connell, Executive Director of the European Movement Ireland and Mary McCaughey, Head of Information and Communication at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

The running order can be viewed here.

If you have any queries about this event please contact us.

Speakers' Bios

Andy Klom, Acting Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland

Andy Klom joined the European Commission Representation in Ireland (based in Dublin) in 2016, where since 2021 he works as the Acting Head of Representation. Prior to this he worked as the Deputy Head of Representation in Dublin, Acting Head of the EC Representation in London covering the whole United Kingdom, Acting Head of the EC Regional Representation in Marseille covering the South of France, Head of the EC Representation in the Netherlands, and Head of the EC Regional Representation in Wales. As the last EC Representative to the UK he was responsible for the closing down the EC’s offices in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

Prior to this work in the EU Member States, Andy spent many years working at the European Commission HQ in Brussels in the area of EU foreign policy, dealing with Latin American affairs, and in the area of EU energy policy. Andy has also been active in the academic field, as Visiting Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, and as Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University.

Andy Klom

Thomas Byrne TD, Minister of State for European Affairs

Thomas was educated at St. Mary’s Diocesan School in Drogheda. He holds an LL.B. Law degree from Trinity College, Dublin. He qualified as a Solicitor in 2001. Thomas completed his apprenticeship with McCann FitzGerald Solicitors in Dublin. After qualifying, he worked in the EU and Competition Law Department in the firm. In 2003, Thomas returned to practice closer to home in Feran & Co. Solicitors until his election to Dáil Éireann in 2007. Thomas also admitted to the New York State Bar.

Thomas was first elected to Dáil Éireann to represent Meath East in 2007. From 2007 to 2011 he was a member of the Oireachtas Committees on Justice, Equality and Defence, Social Protection and on Finance and the Public Service.

In 2011 Thomas was elected to the Seanad for the Cultural and Educational panel. He served as a Senator from 2011 to 2016, during which he was the Party Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform. In 2016 Thomas was again elected to Dáil Éireann. From 2016 to 2020 he served as the Party Spokesperson on Education. In 2020 he was appointed as Minister of State for European Affairs by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD

Martina Fitzgerald, CEO of Scale Ireland and former RTÉ political correspondent

Martina is the CEO of Scale Ireland, the independent not-for-profit organisation which represents and advocates on behalf of Ireland’s tech start-up and scale-up companies. Martina has two decades senior communications experience, including as RTÉ’s political correspondent. She is the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed book, ‘Madam Politician: The women at the table of Irish political power’.

In 2019, Martina was a Visiting Fellow at Columbia University in New York, having earlier in the year delivered communications and empowerment training to pre-university women in Laos and Washington. She is a member of Ireland’s independent National Screening Advisory Committee and a board member of Dóchas.

Martina Fitzgerald

Grace O’Sullivan MEP

A mother of three from Tramore, Co.Waterford, Grace has led a rich and varied life. From the age of 21 she spent 20 years working with Greenpeace and was a crew member of the Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed by the French Foreign Intelligence Service in 1985.

She continues her work as a peace and environment activist. She is a Green Party MEP for the Ireland South constituency; Green Party Spokesperson on the Marine; an environmental education specialist and an ecologist. In the past she has been involved in a number of sustainable business projects and has a post graduate diploma in Business Development.

She was Ireland’s first female surf champion.

Grace served as a Senator for three years before being elected to the European Parliament in 2019, where she is a proactive and outspoken member of important committees on Fisheries (PECH), and Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). She is also a member of delegations on Mercosur and Palestine, and a member of a number of working groups, most notably as co-chair of the Greens/EFA Biodiversity Working Group.

Grace O'Sullivan MEP

Judges' Bios

Noelle O'Connell, Executive Director of the European Movement Ireland

Noelle was appointed CEO of European Movement Ireland in 2011, Ireland’s longest established not-for-profit membership organisation connecting Ireland and Europe. Prior to this, Noelle worked in business development, public affairs, member relations in a variety of sectors.  She has also worked in the third level sector and has managed significant national and international funding projects.

Noelle was elected a Vice President of European Movement International in November 2020. She is a voluntary Director of the board of Alliance Française Irlande, and is Chair of UCC’s Dublin Alumni Chapter.  She holds a BA Hons from University College Cork, a DEUF Diploma from Université de Jean Moulin, Lyon II France,, and a MSc in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh and is currently enrolled on a Executive Business Finance Diploma in the IMI. She speaks Irish, French and Spanish.

Twitter handle: @Noelle_OC

Noelle O'Connell

Mary McCaughey, Head of Information and Communication at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Mary is Head of Information and Communication in Eurofound, where she has worked since 2003. A graduate in Business and Politics from Trinity College, Dublin and an ‘ancienne’ of the College of Europe, Bruges, she began her career in journalism in Brussels in 1990 with Europe Information Service and the Wall Street Journal Europe. She subsequently contributed to the WSJE and the Irish Times as a features writer before taking up the post of spokesperson with the Delegation of the European Commission to South Africa in 1998, heading up its press and information department. In 2001, she moved to Belgrade, Serbia, where she worked as a communications consultant for the European Agency for Reconstruction.

Twitter handle: @MaryMcCaugheyEF

Mary McCaughey