Two Cork students were among a group of just 24 teenagers from all over the island of Ireland to be presented with Rotary Youth Leadership Development certificates at the European Parliament’s offices in Dublin recently.
The competition, which is one of Rotary Ireland’s longest-running youth projects, rewards young people with clear leadership potential based on their extra-curricular activities. It is run in conjunction with the European Parliament Liaison Office in Dublin and Euroscola in Strasbourg.
Hannah Walsh, who is a student at Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, and Johnny Walsh, who is a student at CBC in Cork, received their certificates from Rotary Ireland District Governor Captain, Sean Fitzgerald and Patrick O’Riordan, head of public affairs at the European Parliament’s office in Ireland.
Competition winners were treated to a six-day all-expenses paid trip involving visits to Belfast, Dublin and Strasbourg.
Winners first visited Belfast City Hall and Stormont where they met and chatted with politicians from various parties.
Then it was onto Europe House in Dublin where they were presented with their certificates before a trip to Dáil Éireann where they met the Minister for Education, Norma Foley and several other TDs.
They then flew to Frankfurt for a two-day visit to Strasbourg. After being formally welcomed by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta
Metsola, the students took part in an interactive workshop which allowed them to discuss and vote on amendments to an EU proposal on climate action targets.
Hannah, who is a previous winner in the BT Young Scientist competition, is involved in her student council, the Irish Girl Guides and is a member of the Cork ETB School of Music Youth Orchestra.
She said she would highly recommend the competition to young people.
Jonathan, who is a European Youth Parliament member and International Irish Representative, is also the CBC Cork Debating Society recording secretary and the school's Meitheal Team recording secretary.
He said the trip afforded him a better understanding of the structure of government and politics, especially in Northern Ireland.
“I also learned about accessibility into politics and the down-to-earth nature of politicians. I would absolutely recommend this competition to fellow students," he continued.
The Rotary Youth Leadership Development Competition is open to 16 and 17-year-olds who are living on the island of Ireland.
For more information see rotary-ribi.org.