Year 13 pupil Ciara Mathers recently won the Ballycastle Youth Rotary Leadership Competition. Her prize was a trip to Strasburg where she visited the European Parliament buildings along with 30 other young people from all over Ireland. Ciara participated in several debates relating to equality and human rights issues. Below is Ciara's summary of her wonderful experience. Thank you to Mrs McCallum and Ballycastle Rotary Club for all the support given to Ciara in her preparation and on the trip.
On the 11th February I set off with 30 other young people from all over Northern Ireland to take part in a very memorable trip to Strasburg. Our first stop was Stormont. We met with several MLA’s and caught a glimpse of Teresa May and Leo Varadkar as they were visiting amid the crisis talks which have been taking place.
Next stop was Dublin where we visited the European Parliament office. We listened to several members of the Irish Government tell us about their role and responsibilities. We then flew from Dublin to Frankfurt where we stayed the night. We had the opportunity to sight see and soak up the amazing culture on offer in the city.
From Frankfurt we drove to Strasburg. On Thursday we visited the European Parliament. We were given specific topics to research beforehand and now had the opportunity to debate specific issues with others from 23 countries all over the world. The varying opinions and ideas shared was staggering. We had translators present for English, German, Spanish and French. We also had the opportunity to meet several members of the European Parliament.
This trip has had a very positive impact on my understanding and appreciation of different political systems and views. I now have a much deeper appreciation of what happens in the EU and how it can have an effect on us. It was a particularly interesting time to visit given the Brexit situation. I have also met many new friends and we have all been keeping in touch.
I would like to thank Ballycastle Rotary, Meg Healy, Philip Beggs and Criona O’Reilly for giving me such an amazing opportunity, I am very grateful.