Over 80 pupils from schools across Ireland gathered at Dublin Castle to debate climate

By William O'Connor

A NUMBER of secondary schools were amongst the winners at the 2020 Model Council of the European Union debate to solve the climate crisis.

Amongst the successful schools at the debate were Deansrath Community College in Clondalkin – representing Slovenia – who came in second place behind Naas, while an honourable mention was given to The King’s Hospital School, representing Belgium.


Sarah O’ Brien, Niamh Hayes and Caoimhe Byrne, Transition year students from Christ King Secondary School South Douglas Cork, Agamjeet Singh Chokdayat, Charlie O’ Malley and Stephen Loftus from Lucan Community College


Fifth Year students from Lucan Community College also took part in the debate, representing Sweden.

Over 80 secondary pupils from schools across Ireland gathered at the Printworks Building at Dublin Castle on Thursday to participate in the Model Council of the European Union debate on the European Green Deal.

The Green Deal is the EU response to the existential challenge posed by the climate crisis: a comprehensive package of structural reforms and new policy initiatives designed to make the EU the world’s first “climate-neutral continent” by 2050.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD opened the event noting that: “Climate represents an existential threat to the future of civilisation.

Young people have rightly pointed the finger at our generation for failing to act. There is now a real opportunity for Europe to show leadership, not only for our own citizens, but for the world.


Transition Year students from The King’s Hospital School – Thomas Eve, Ibrahim Alabi and Conor Henry with (back row from left) Barry Andrews MEP (Chair of the debate), debate judge Mary McCaughey, Ciarán Cuffe MEP, Ambassador of Belgium H.E. Pierre Emmanuel De Bauw, teacher Viki Malcolm, Michael Ewing and Gerry Kiely


The changes needed challenge our lifestyles at a fundamental level. The format of this debate is really exciting because it puts people in the shoes of different governments struggling with their own unique circumstances to bring people with them in responding to this major challenge.”

Gerry Kiely, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland said: “We are proud to host this discussion on climate policy, providing young people from across country with an opportunity to engage with the defining political issue of our era. Protecting the environment and increasing biodiversity is a major priority for the European Commission, particularly in the context of President Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal.”

The event was adjudicated upon by an expert judging panel including, Noelle O’Connell, Executive Director of the European Movement Ireland; Mary McCaughey, Head of Information and Communication, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions; and Michael Ewing, Development Officer, Irish Environmental Network & Environmental Pillar.


Barry Andrews, MEP; Ciarán Cuffe, MEP; Matt Corbett, teacher; Mary McCaughey, debate judge; Gerry Kiely and Michael Ewing with students from Deansrath Community College (front, from left) Claudia Tallon, James Heath and Caitlin Valentine

The Model Council of the European Union was streamed live on the

European Commission Representation in Ireland’s website and social media channels.

Oireachtas TV intends to broadcast footage of the event in early March.

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