Gaelcholáiste Students Play Parliament in Brussels

Gaelcholáiste Students Play Parliament in Brussels


Colin Mannion and Julia Sanz visited the European Parliament in Brussels with teacher Ms Martina McNamara

Two students from Gaelcholáiste an Chláir had a unique opportunity to visit the European Parliament last month to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge, where they took part in parliamentary role-playing activities through the medium of Irish.

Transition Year students Julia Sanz and Colin Mannion joined students from six other Gaelcholáistí around Ireland as guests of Sinn Féin MEP for the South Region, Liadh Ní Riada. The Ennis students were accompanied by their Transition Year coordinator and science teacher, Ms Martina McNamara.

The Gaelcholáiste delegation visited the Parliamentarium, the official visitors’ centre of the European Parliament. There they took part in a role-playing game, designed to let them experience for themselves the process by which European legislation comes into being.

The role-playing experience at the Parliamentarium is available in all the EU’s official languages, so the Gaelcholáiste students were able to conduct their game in Irish. Divided into imaginary political groups, they became ‘Members of the European Parliament’ and had to learn to negotiate between themselves to build the future they want.

The Role-Play Game aims to show how EU legislation is created, from consulting interest groups and forming alliances to negotiating with other institutions and speaking to the media. Players work together and make difficult decisions as they tackle issues such as water scarcity and the implications of technological advances.

The Gaelcholáiste students also met with Seán Kelly MEP, leader of the Fine Gael group in the European Parliament.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.