16 Apr 2018, 13.31

The Seanad Chamber will play host to a unique debate involving 16 secondary school students tomorrow, Tuesday, 17th of April.

Students will speak on the following motion:

"For many Irish women, the diverse and sometimes conflicting strands of these three movements - nationalism, trade unionism and the women's movement - were but different stages of a single struggle for freedom, justice and equality, one that, it was hoped, would be realised in the institutions, culture and society of Home Rule that might be won for Ireland, or, for the more radical, in an independent Irish republic." - President Michael D. Higgins, International Women's Day 2018
Debate: "Has the struggle for freedom, justice and equality been realised in Ireland's institutions, culture and society?"

Last September, students were invited to apply with a written submission outlining their motivation for speaking in the Seanad.  Over 350 students applied with a written submission; that number was then whittled down to 32 who were invited to submit a video of themselves speaking on a relevant topic; from those 32, 16 students were invited to participate in the Seanad debate.

Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Denis O’Donovan, said, “I am delighted to welcome these talented young people to Seanad Éireann to debate a wide-ranging motion on Irish history and society. As part of our Vótáil100 programme of events for 2018, this debate represents an important input from the younger generation. TDs and Senators alike look forward to attending the debate, which will showcase the talents of a group of young people availing of a unique opportunity to debate matters of interest to them in the Upper House.”

The debate will be live-streamed on the Oireachtas website, via this link

Unaccredited media who wish to attend the debate should contact Nuala Walsh (details below) before 4pm on Monday, 16th of April.


11:00 – Fáilte ón gCathaoirleach, Senator Denis O’Donovan

11:10 – Students to speak for 3 minutes each in the following order:

•    Anna Ní Laoi, Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin, Co. na Gaillimhe
•    Caoimhe Halligan, Presentation Secondary School, Co. Waterford
•    Clare McGloughlin, Santa Sabina Dominican College, Co. Dublin
•    Ellen McMahon, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Co. Monaghan
•    Ellen Nugent-Campbell, Lismore Comprehensive School
•    Emma Dolan, Loreto College Cavan, Co. Cavan
•    Emma Whitney, Convent of Mercy Roscommon, Co. Roscommon
•    Hala Heenan, Methodist College Belfast, Co. Antrim
•    Joylaine Fajimiyo, Scoil Chriost Rí, Co. Laois
•    Katelin Vaughan, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Co. Clare
•    Kate Rodgers, Magh Ene College, Co. Donegal
•    Liam Coolahan, Athlone Community College, Co. Westmeath
•    Mícheál Twomey, Mount Saint Micheal, Co. Cork
•    Monica Thorne, Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Co. Limerick
•    Sophie Cummins, St Declan's Community College, Co. Waterford
•    Rachel Mellerick, Colaiste Na Toirbhirte, Co. Cork

12:00 – Debate to close.

Media enquiries

Nuala Walsh,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
+353 1 618 3437
+353 86 4100 898
Twitter: @OireachtasNews