9 May 2019, 11.57

The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, and the Cathaoirleach, Senator Denis O’Donovan, have welcomed students from eight educational institutions to the Houses of the Oireachtas to mark Europe Day.

Thursday’s events coincided with celebratory events across the 28-nation union, where Europe Day has been observed since 1985. The purpose of the meeting in the Seanad Chamber was to hear presentations on policy challenges facing the European Union.

Students from eight educational institutions - University College Cork, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ulster University, Teagasc and Queen's University Belfast presented as witnesses to a Joint Meeting of five Committees of the Houses including the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs.

The topics which were discussed included; CAP Reform (Joint Committee Agriculture); Security & Defence (Joint Committee Foreign Affairs); Climate Action and Sustainable Development (Joint Committee Climate Action) and Migration (Joint Committee Justice).

This Joint meeting was held in public and broadcast live on the Oireachtas website and witnesses were questioned by members of the Oireachtas.

Ceann Comhairle Ó Fearghaíl said: “The insight of sixteen students from across the third level sector on a number of key policy challenges for the European Union at the heart of Irish democracy, Leinster House, was invaluable, the Houses of the Oireachtas very much welcomes the input on these very important matters.”

It was on May 9th in 1950 when France proposed a pact with West Germany on the joint production of steel and coal. That act of cross-border cooperation set in motion a process of growing European economic integration and paved the way for today’s EU.

The day began at Leinster House when the EU flag was raised outside Leinster House for the second year running. At 8.30am Defence Forces personnel raised the EU standard alongside the Irish Tricolour in front of the Cenotaph on Leinster Lawn facing Merrion Square.

The Cathaoirleach added: “This year marks the 46th anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the EU. It’s an important reminder of how long Ireland has been cooperating with European neighbours, and how much better off we are as a nation because of this remarkable partnership.”

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