European Parliament Trip

The unpredictable and fast-paced nature of politics was witnessed first hand recently by CBS student, Luke Stephens, who carried out  work experience in the European Parliament. Luke described his experience live on air on Shannonside Radio last week, as well as discussing the local elections from the point of view of young people. Luke has written the following report on his short but productive trip to Brussels. ‘On January 29th, I flew out to Brussels Airport for a day of work experience like no other. I was going to the European Parliament with Mairéad McGuiness MEP’s office in Brussels. 

Mairéad McGuiness has been an MEP (Member of the European Parliament) in the Midlands-North West constituency since 2004. Since 2017, she has been the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, which is one of the highest positions in the EU. 

On the morning of the 30th, we made our way to the European Parliament buildings in Brussels, where we were met by one of Mairéad’s assistants. We were then given a tour of the Parliament buildings, where we were shown the facilities and the press area.  

After that, we were brought to the viewing area for the Parliament, where we watched MEPs debate the European Commission’s work schedule for the year as well as the European Green Deal. Mick Wallace, MEP for the Ireland South Constituency, spoke about his visit to a Spanish jail, where he met with former members of the Catalan parliament who were jailed by the Spanish government for trying to achieve independence for Catalunya. He asked what the EU would do about this issue, as he said it had nothing to do with Catalan independence and everything to do with civil rights. 

We made our way to the canteen for a well-earned coffee, and there we met with Declan Kelleher, the Irish Permanent Representative to the EU, and I had to opportunity to speak with him too. He is from Bornacoola in Leitrim and has worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs since 1977 in various roles, such as ambassador to China and the Second Secretary on the Irish Permanent Mission to the UN. 

I managed to pack a lot into one day in the Parliament buildings. I had an amazing experience in Brussels at the European Parliament, and I am very grateful to Mairéad McGuiness and her staff for facilitating this.  (article by Luke Stephens)