St Mary's College

Model Council of the EU

Model Council of the EU

St Mary’s student’s shine online

Naas students come second in the European Union Model Council debate

Students from St Mary's College in Naas have taken second place in the 2021 Model Council of the European Union debate, which took place 23rd April. Fiona McShane and Lucy Johnson were coached by teacher Rosemary Morrissey for the national event which saw 27 schools from all over Ireland competing for the title in discussing a topical theme – the coordinated response at EU level to cross-boarder threats to health. The Kildare girl’s role represented Greece at the debate.

The Model Council of the EU Debate 2020 – Climate Action

The Model Council Debate, an annual event designed to introduce students to the decision-making process of the European Union. On Thursday, the 27th of February 2020, twelve of our EPAS (European Parliament Ambassadorship for Schools) students from St Mary’s College Naas, travelled to Dublin Castle. The event was held in the Printworks Conference Centre. Twenty-seven schools from all over the country represented each of the EU member states. This year, the topic of the debate was the EU Green Deal for 2030, with teams discussing whether the 30% target for reduction of emissions should be raised to 50% or 55%.

The team comprised of Niamh Ryan, Fiona McShane, and Lucy Johnston, represented Germany. Prior to the event, the team along with their teacher Ms Morrissey researched tirelessly in order to write their speeches. The most important aspect (from the German perspective) is their ‘EnergyWende’ programme on Climate Action. Therefore, our teacher invited the Head of Mission to the German Embassy in Dublin, Nancy Reck, to come and speak to us. Her advice was invaluable.

From the moment they walked into the venue, teams were already mingling and negotiating with their peers, but the day was officially opened with a speech by Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment Richard Bruton, and was chaired by Dublin MEP Barry Andrews. The first hour of the debate consisted of 2 minute speeches given by the first speaker of every member state, with Niamh Ryan speaking fifth for our team.

When the initial speeches were completed, another hour was given for open debate. Our team spoke twice during this time, with Fiona McShane representing us. Then there was an hour for lunch, which actually served as a negotiation period for most teams. Lucy Johnston was indispensable at this point, as her main role within the group was to research the efforts made by the other member states regarding Climate Action.

After lunch we returned to open debate, with Niamh and Fiona each spending around an hour as our speakers. They made a total of three submissions on the topics of nuclear energy, penalties for not reaching targets, and the source of funding within the Union. Overall, the team had a united front, and never swayed from the actual values and beliefs of their country regarding the issues raised. When the time came for judging to commence, the three judges made their way into a booth at the back of the room. The prize of which was an iPad for each team member and a paid trip for their class to see the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

It was a shock to our girls when they were announced as the winners of the competition, but it was well deserved. The girls were delighted with the result of the debate and are looking forward to their trip to Strasbourg.

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