May 9th 2023
I had a very special morning yesterday marking 50 years of Ireland's EU membership with a visit to Kilkenny City Vocational School, where I was joined by Luxembourg's Ambassador to Ireland, Florence Ensch. Involving schools in Ireland's Europe Day celebrations is a nationwide initiative and I was delighted to have the opportunity to mark this important occasion with students in Kilkenny.
Sustainability was a real focal point for the day, and students from both the Vocational School and from St. John's Senior School gave us some really impressive presentations on their School Excellence project on Sustainable Tourism in Kilkenny, and on the Sustainable Development Goals. We heard too of the great work being undertaken by the school's Green Schools Committee. I was blown away by what these students are achieving - the school has been awarded with six Green flags, and I was particularly impressed with the lovely wild flower meadow in the school car park.
It's work that's involving the whole school community, and having Ambassador Ensch there gave them a great opportunity to learn more about school-led sustainability initiatives in Luxembourg.
Of course, for the day that was in it, we also talked about the importance of the European Union, how it's altered life in Ireland and how it will continue to shape all of their futures, giving them the freedom to live, work and travel across the EU.
I want to thank the school principal, Cathy, all the teachers (including my nephew, Calvin!), and especially the students of Kilkenny Vocational School and St. John's Senior School for the very warm welcome, and I was delighted that KCLR reporter Edwina Grace was able to join us too. You can listen back to her excellent report on what was a really special event for us all below.