On Thursday February 2nd, the Fifth Year Politics & Society students of Maryfield College visited the Houses of the Oireachtas at Leinster House. We were greeted by the Parliamentary Education Officer, Conor Reale, who informed us about the role of the Dail and Seanad, before we met with Social Democrat TD Cian O’ Callaghan. Deputy O’ Callaghan discussed issues such as how the role of a TD is changing, his work in the Dail committee on Housing and why young people should get involved in politics. He then took part in a very engaging question and answer session where he listened and responded to every question that we asked of him.
We then watched the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, give a joint address to both houses of the Oireachtas. This was a unique opportunity for us to witness as she is only the second women outside of Ireland to be given this honour. After the President’s address we were then escorted to a room upstairs were we had the privilege to take part in a question and answer session for over twenty minutes with President Metsola and Deputy Leader of Seanad Eireann, Senator Regina Doherty. During this meeting we discussed a wide range of topics such as the difficulties female politicians face, increasing the power of the European Parliament, how the rule of law is under threat, and future challenges facing the European Parliament.
President Metsola took a great interest in our lives as young people in Ireland and asked us what changes we would like to see in our education system and in the society that we are growing up in. She stressed the need for a pragmatic approach to issues but also encouraged us to push for the change that we want to see in the world and she has inspired many of us to follow in her footsteps as future political leaders.
Fifth Year Politics & Society students meeting with the President of the European Parliament