Irish MEPs and the National Forum on Europe arrange a Public Speaking competition.
A team of County Wexford students are the overall winners of the 2009 Transition Year Public Speaking competition run annually by the National Forum on Europe and Irish MEPs, many of whom attended the national final in Dublin Castle on 2 March 2009.
Enniscorthy CBS students Killian Doyle, Diarmuid Neville and Liam O'Tiarnaigh delivered stirring speeches on the theme 'E-you: My vision for Ireland's future in Europe'. Their proud teacher, James McGovern, was in Dublin Castle to witness their achievement.
The Wexford boys will now represent Ireland at Euroscola, a special session in the European Parliament chamber in Strasbourg when young people from all over Europe come together to debate topical European issues.
Local MEPs Avril Doyle and Mairead McGuinness were there to hear their young constituents detailing how they believe that Ireland in Europe could achieve the aims of the next generation. 'Together we share a vision of Ireland coming out of this recession better prepared economically and ecologically for the years ahead', said Diarmuid Neville, wrapping up the Wexford presentation. 'Our vision of this success is not just confined to the future of Ireland in Europe but to the very future of the EU and Europe itself'.
A record 170 schools took part in this year's competition. The final was a contest between the top four of them. The Enniscorthy team, representing the East constituency, was up against very strong finalists from the other constituencies:
- Meanscoil San Nicolas, An Rinn, Dún Garbháiri, Co. Waterford, representing the South constituency
- Scariff Community College, Scariff, Co Clare representing the North West constituency and
- Assumption Secondary School, Walkinstown, Dublin 12, representing the Dublin constituency
The Chairman of the National Forum, Maurice Hayes praised the qualities of excellence and understanding of issues relating to Ireland's membership of the EU that all four teams brought to the event. 'Above all, what heartened me was the basic optimism of the young people here today', he said. 'There was also a realism in what they had to say and they were able to look troubles in the eye. Nevertheless, they had a spring in their step and a lift in their voice.'
The judges were RTÉ Newscaster, Eileen Dunne, who is President of the Irish section of the Association of European Journalists; Francis Jacobs Head of the European Parliament Office in Dublin and Grace O'Regan, Deputy Director of the National Forum On Europe.