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Education Committee hears from Minister on Irish Presidency priorities

The Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection today heard Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn TD outline the priorities of the Irish Presidency in the area of Education and Training.

14 November 2012

Minister Quinn was addressing the Committee in advance of the Council of Education Ministers meeting in Brussels scheduled for 26 November 2012.

Chair of the Committee Joanna Tuffy TD says: “Committees have taken on an important role in considering the approach taken by Government Ministers at the EU Council of Ministers meetings. Today’s engagement with the Minister was a valuable opportunity for our Committee to engage with Minister Quinn on his approach to the debate and discussions in Brussels in the area of education and training.

“Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union commences in January and Minister Quinn outlined Ireland’s priorities for the six months. The Committee heard that smaller Member States’ Presidencies have a reputation for getting the business of the Union done efficiently and effectively. Because of Ireland’s track record of successful Presidencies, the Minister commented on the high expectations in Brussels for the coming six months.”  

“The Minister noted that advancing the ‘Erasmus for All’ programme would be a key priority for the Presidency. The funding for this flagship EU education programme is set to double for the period 2014 to 2020. Committee Members pressed the Minister on improving uptake of the programme among Irish young people. While 18,000 Irish students have participated in exchanges since the programme’s establishment, twice as many students from other Member States arrived here to study.

“The Minister advised that the European Parliament has grown in power post-Lisbon and this will need to be factored in to Ireland’s approach to implementing an ambitious agenda. Oireachtas Committees will contribute to a vibrant parliamentary dimension during the Presidency, with a meeting involving the Chairs of education committees from national parliaments scheduled for June 2013.”

Separately, the Committee heard from the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive on Social, Personal and Health Education and Relationships and Sexuality Education. Comhairle na nÓg is a network of youth councils across Ireland, which provides a forum for children and young people to discuss national issues of relevance to them.  

Deputy Tuffy continues: “This was a valuable engagement with Comhairle na nÓg representatives on their views on Social, Personal and Health Education and Relationships and Sexuality Education in the school curriculum. The youth representatives delivered a clear, concise and thought-provoking presentation which will inform our future discussions on the topic.”

For further information please contact:   
Paul Hand,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
P: +353 1 618 4484
M: +353  87 694 9926

Committee Membership
James Bannon, Fine Gael
Ray Butler, Fine Gael
Joan Collins, People Before Profit
Clare Daly, Independent
Brendan Griffin, Fine Gael
Simon Harris, Fine Gael
Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil
Nicky McFadden, Fine Gael
Jonathan O'Brien, Sinn Féin
Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Fine Gael
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Labour Party (Vice Chair)
Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin
Willie O’Dea, Fianna Fáil
Brendan Ryan, Labour Party
Joanna Tuffy, Labour Party (Chair)

Jim D’Arcy     
Fidelma Healy Eames     
Marie Moloney     
Marie Louise O’Donnell     
Averil Power     
Diarmuid Wilson