Pobalscoil na Tríonóide

5th Year Politics and Society students took part in a Oireachtas video conference

5th Year Politics and Society students took part in a Oireachtas video conference

5th Year Politics and Society students took part in a Oireachtas video conferenceIMG-20201119-WA0002 (1).jpg

19th November 2020

The Fifth Year Politics and Society class took part in a workshop and virtual tour with members of the Oireachtas through a Teams video conference. The students had the chance to speak directly to Pat Buckley TD, James O’Connor TD and David Stanton TD and ask the political representatives all their questions about the Irish political system.

The deputies outlined how they had initially got involved in politics in different ways; school student council, grassroots activism and also the local community. They also explained their role as a TD and the daily challenges that can arise.

Ben posed a question on the low levels of youth representation in the Dail, with the perceptions around youth and the barriers to election being raised by Deputy O’Connor. Lowering the voting age was also debated with all deputies by Conor Reale.

The question of whether the Party Whip system allows for deputies to truly represent their constituents was asked by Rian and Deputy Stanton outlined how representation is much broader than voting within the parliament, in particular highlighting the role of cross-party committees.

Kate asked whether minorities were adequately represented within the Oireachtas and Deputy Buckley stated certainly more diversity was needed to reflect a changing Ireland and the importance of equality for all citizens. Mr. McSweeney then gave the deputies an easy question on a potential SF-FF coalition which the deputies handled with true East Cork diplomatic skill.

Finally, Alex asked the deputies why the recent gender quotas seemed not to be working in terms of female representation, e.g. recent General Election. All deputies mentioned the difficulties with the nature of the work in the Oireachtas and it being not family-friendly which needs to be reformed. The importance of role models such as new female TDs and female senior Ministers was agreed by all the panel. The workshop concluded with a virtual tour of Leinster House.

With thanks to all three deputies and Conor Reale – Oireachtas Education Officer.

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