Mairead McGuinness MEP for Donegal and first Vice-President of the European Parliament paid an official visit to Scoil Cholmcille, Newtowncunningham on Friday (30th November).
The school is participating in the Blue Star programme, which aims to foster, through classroom projects and activities, better knowledge and understanding amongst primary pupils about the European Union. Among other things, it examines the foundation and development of the European Union, the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe and the role of the EU: what it does and how its work affects the lives of European citizens.
“The school has embraced the programme in a most wholehearted way and this was so evident today from the level of detailed questioning from the pupils, on all manner of issues to do with the EU,” the MEP said.
“What impressed me most was the level of knowledge the children had about politics and their interest in the European Parliament.
“Clearly Brexit is on their minds given the challenge that it poses for everyone on both sides of the border, not just business and farming but almost every facet of cross border interaction.
“The uncertainty has dented confidence and stalled some investment but trojan effort has been made by EU negotiators and is now being made by British Prime Minister Teresa May to get her colleagues to accept the deal reached, which would ensure a sensible outcome that will result in minimal disruption.
“While all eyes will be on the UK Parliament decision on the 11th December, given the political turmoil there may be several twists and turns yet before the issue is concluded,” she said.
And she said the political declaration which accompanied the withdrawal agreement is hugely important as it sets the agenda for the negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK post Brexit.
“Those negotiations will not be easy, but then nothing about Brexit has been easy,” she said.
The MEP paid tribute to the pupils, their teacher, Marie Gill and Principal Nicola McCarthy and everyone associated with the school.
The children played beautiful music and performed Irish dancing which was a joy to watch, she said.
“The performance of ‘ode to joy’ the anthem of the EU was very special and showed the huge efforts the children and their teacher are going to as part of the Blue Star Programme.”