More than 350 students from 12 Primary schools across Mayo, Galway and Roscommon had a unique chance to interact with their local MEPs during “Ask Me Anything” events as part of Europe4U 2020.
MEPs Maria Walsh and Chris McManus from the Midlands – North – West constituency took a variety of questions from the highly engaged students and spoke about their role as MEPs, the role that the European Union plays in their daily lives, the advantages of being EU citizens, the rights that come with EU citizenship and Ireland’s place in Europe.
Participating schools included: Scoil Mhuire, Galway; Lurga National School Galway; Maree National School, Galway; Scoil Chroí Iosa, Galway; Claddagh National School, Galway; Mercy Primary School, Galway; St. Paul’s Boys National School, Roscommon; Trinity Primary School, Galway; Scoil Chaitríona, Galway; Quay National School, Mayo and Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Mayo.
Europe4U is designed to inform second level students of the advantages of being an EU citizen and what rights are drawn from their citizenship. Comprising a number of interactive activities, Europe4U helps students and participants to gain an understanding of the benefits to the individual and wider community that EU citizenship brings.
During the event MEP Maria Walsh reflected on her journey to becoming the youngest MEP and how she began to have an interest in politics. She highlighted the reason for her focus on mental health as a crucial determinant of productivity both for students, teachers, employers, employees and the community at large.
MEP Chris McManus listed the advantages that Ireland accrues from being part of the EU such as access to funds used in COVID 19 unemployment payments and COVID 19 vaccinations upon commencement of distribution. He highlighted his interest in infrastructural projects, access to grant for farmers, health and safety of citizens, and reduction in carbon emissions.
Each MEP also announced Stage 2 of the project, which is a ‘Design your EU’ poster competition. The competition was subsequently won by Jenny Hession of Scoil Chaitríona, Renmore, Galway. Jenny won a tablet for her class with her creative entry titled ‘What I like About the EU’.
Ray Fogarty, JAI, concluded the event by saying: “We are delighted to partner with the Department of Foreign Affairs to open students’ eyes to the benefits of EU membership and the rights of EU citizens through the Europe4U 2020 initiative. With the knowledge they have gained through these informative and inspiring interactions with their local MEPS these students are now more engaged, connected and empowered by their EU citizenship. Thanks you to MEPs Maria Walsh and Chris McManus for taking the time to increase the students’ understanding of the benefits to the individual and wider community that EU citizenship brings.“