MEP for Meath and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, has urged young people to think about what kind of Europe they want into the future and to be active in helping to shape it.
She was speaking on Thursday (12th January) on a visit to Beaufort College, Navan with students aged 13-17 about the EU and how it works and her work in the Parliament.
Ms McGuinness said the level of interest the students have in the EU was impressive. “These young people see themselves very much as both Irish and European citizens. They displayed a great interest in politics, including the impact of Brexit, migration, the role of the Common Agricultural Policy and the economic future of Europe.
“We talked about how policy is made, including how important it is for young people to use their vote at election time.
“We know that when it comes to the EU, young people are very supportive but this is not reflected in participation in elections where the turnout among the younger generation is low.
“We spoke about peace and the origins of the EU following two world wars.
“These are great young people and I encouraged them to dream big and follow their dreams,” she said.
The MEP thanked the pupils, teacher Noreen Carolan, Principal, Angela Crowcock and Deputy Principal, Ken Flynn.
She said it was great to visit the school, it was energising and encouraging to be among them.
Ms McGuinness wished the school well in its extensive and exciting building programme which will be a wonderful addition to the school.
And she said she was also hugely impressed by the student cafe, the after school programme and the engagement of parents with the school.
“Young people are our future and our schools are vital in shaping the lives and dreams of our young people, with the engagement of the wider community,” she said.