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See Cian Murphy's report by clicking on the orange title above.
This is a report on the Irish experience of Euroscola Day, which took place in the European Parliament, Strasbourg on 16 March 2012.
The Irish delegation entered the Louise Weiss Parliament building at approximately 8 a.m. CET. As a means of security, we were asked to remove any metal items or jewellery and walk through a metal detector. We were then led by an assistant, Véronique, through the main building and into a room bordering the dining hall. Another assistant, Margaret, introduced herself to us and explained the proceedings for the day, all of which were recorded on the schedules given to us. Margaret brought the group into the dining hall, where we enjoyed a continental breakfast of orange juice and croissants.
Shortly after breakfast, we were invited to make our way down to the parliament chamber. We took our seats and waited anxiously to begin.The ceremony started with students from the various countries represented at Euroscola Day giving a brief description about their respective countries and schools. Ireland's representative, Gavin Pacini, delivered a very informative and insightful piece about Ireland and our school, Lucan Community College, in French. Following this, a number of speeches were made by the chairpersons of the day in Italian, English, German and French, all regarding the structure of the European Parliament and the role it plays in our society.
We were then given the opportunity to experience the different elements of the parliament; we used the electronic voting system and were asked to air our own questions to the chairpersons on issues that concerned Europe.
We left the chamber at 12.45 p.m. and went to the dining hall. There, we ate a rich lunch comprised of salad, chicken and fruit. During that time, we took part in the 'Eurogame.' This involved forming a team of four students, each student being of a different nationality to that of his/her teammates. Each group answered a series of questions on the 'Eurogame' card that was presented on their table. Each question was written in a different language spoken at Euroscola that day. Those students from Ireland had the advantage on the Irish question.
The cards were submitted and all the students were asked to go, with their shape groups (Arrow, Circle, Diamond, Square, Trapezium, and Triangle) to their designated chambers. My particular group was that of the Circle. In our chambers, we debated the topics given to us prior to Euroscola Day. My topic was the 'Democracy and Citizenship: How to make young people more involved in democracy and citizenship in Europe.' We discussed possible ways of enhancing young people's interest in citizenship and democracy, such as: campaigns on social networking websites and classes about the workings of the European Union and Parliament in schools across Europe.
We left the chambers and entered once again the main parliament chamber at approximately 3.30 p.m. Here, each of the shape groups brought their topics before the parliament and explained the ideas they had. The parliament then voted on whether or not to pass or reject the ideas.
After the voting, the group of Ashling Keane (from Ireland), was amongst those that qualified for the 'Eurogame' final. However, Ashling's group came in a close third to the eventual but worthy winners of the competition from Latvia.
Euroscola Day concluded at 6.00 p.m. with the Flags Ceremony and the European Anthem.
On behalf of the entire Irish delegation that attended Euroscola Day, I can say that we had the utmost pleasure in doing so. It was an invaluable experience to be part of such an event. We met students from all across Europe who shared our passion and enthusiasm for the day. As a result, we have educated ourselves in the workings of the European Parliament and the wider European society and plan to bring this knowledge into the future.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh.
Cian Murphy 16 March 2012