The national final of the public speaking competition was streamed on You Tube from 11.30am today and can be watched here Libraries Ireland - YouTube
In the ‘16 and under’ category, the winner, was Eimear Nic Dhonnchadha from Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin in Carraroe. While in the ‘17+’ category, her schoolmate Eoin Ó Lupáin was the highly commended.
The winner in the ‘17+’ age group was April Bracken, who represented the Europe Direct Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Among the under-16s Alfie Barron, from Sligo Grammar School was the highly commended.
The winners get trips to visit the European Parliament, and a prize of €1,000 and of course, the title of National Europe Direct Soapbox Winner 2021. Each of the contestants in the final was a winner in their regional final and they are getting a prize of an iPad.
In the competition contestants had three minutes to speak on the subject “Lies, damned lies and statistics”.
The final debate was the culmination of months of debates, held this year mostly online due to the pandemic, but still covering most of the country and the contestants argued on the subject with a lot of passion. More than three quarters of the contestants were still attending school and came from more than 20 different schools.
Ms Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland opened the Soapbox Final and said: 'The EU is working hard to tackle the spread of online disinformation and misinformation to ensure the protection of European values and democratic systems. The spread of both disinformation and misinformation can have a range of consequences, such as threatening our democracies, polarising debates, and putting the health, security and environment of EU citizens at risk’
Keynote speaker at the event was Ms Heather Humphries, T.D., Minister for Social Protection; and Rural and Community Development. She said that ‘The Europe Direct Centres are a critical link between the EU and Irish citizens, providing communities in Ireland with really important information about the EU institutions.’
Mr Timothy Hayes, Head of Communication at the European Commission Representation in Ireland, who moderated the final, said: ‘The standard of the debate was very high and the contestants had prepared well. Many pointed to being aware of disinformation circulating around subject such as the COVID vaccines’.
The trips to visit the European Parliament are provided by Maria Walsh MEP who also greeted the participants.
Europe Direct Centres
Ireland's seven Europe Direct Information Centres are in Ballinasloe, Blanchardstown, Clones, Letterkenny, Portlaoise and Waterford, and they hosted the regional finals with over 80 competitors in two categories: 16 and under and 17 and over. The network is group of information centres funded by the European Commission and run by the Local Library Service. More at: www.europedirect.ie
- Publication date
- 9 December 2021
- Representation in Ireland