Winners of 2018 Model Council of the European Union announced
Maynooth Post-Primary, Co Kildare have won the 2018 Model Council of the European Union. The event took place today in Dublin Castle. Runners-up were St Columba’s College, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal. These two schools rose above 24 other schools from all over Ireland, while discussing the Future of Europe. Debates are ongoing across Europe about how the EU can best address the current challenges it faces so the theme of this year’s subject was highly topical.
Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD who opened the debate, urged the students to be informed and involved in EU matters: "I’m delighted to be in Dublin Castle this morning for the 2018 Model Council debate with schools from around Ireland. Congratulations to all the students and teachers for all the work and effort that has gone into today.”
For the Model Council, each school represents one EU Member State. Before the debate, the students and their teachers research the issues for the country they are role-playing. The Ambassadors from each EU country come to Dublin Castle on the day to meet the students representing their home country.
Gerry Kiely, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland said: "We are looking forward to hearing the views of our ‘Member State Delegates’ on the Future of Europe. This is a timely debate as the European Commission and the Member States are currently organising a series of public events across the EU to discuss the future of Europe. However, this isn’t just an issue for the EU institutions: citizens need to be at the heart of the debate – I hope that your engagement with the European Union will continue long after this event.”
The debate was chaired by Catherine Day, who was Secretary General of the European Commission from 2005 to 2015, who commended “the quality of the debate and students’ passionate interventions.” The judges, Noelle O’Connell from European Movement Ireland and Mary McCaughey from Eurofound, announced the winning and runner-up teams and presented the prizes.
The event, which is organised by the European Commission Representation in Ireland, took place in The Printworks Building in Dublin Castle. 26 schools from across Ireland represented the 28 EU Member States.
The winning team are invited to bring their classmates and teacher to Strasbourg in France to take part in the European Parliament's Euroscola project in September. This project allows students from the EU's 28 Member States to work together for a day, just as the MEPs would in the European Parliament. Students in the runner-up team each received a small prize.
MEP Marian Harkin commented that “I am hugely impressed by the level of knowledge, of understanding and of real passion among the students. I am more optimistic about the Future of Europe after listening to these young people today.’’
The Model Council of the European Union is an annual debate which has been organised by the European Commission each year since 2007.