27 Government Ministers, accompanied by Ambassadors from European Union (EU) Member States in Ireland, will today visit schools across the country to meet with young people as part of Europe Day 2022 and the Government’s EU50 programme. The EU50 programme is marking key milestones in Ireland’s 50 years of EU membership since our decision to join the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1972.
Ministers and Ambassadors will meet with young people to hear what Europe means to them, and to answer their questions on Europe’s future. The Europe Day programme will focus on primary schools that are part of the Blue Star Programme, which teaches primary school pupils about European culture, and the EU, through creative activities and projects. Visits will also take place to secondary schools which are part of the European Parliament Ambassador School (EPAS) Programme, a network of secondary and vocational schools across the European Union raising awareness of European parliamentary democracy and European citizenship values.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne TD will also be hosting a Blue Star Programme Europe Day Celebration in Government Buildings on Monday morning with St Andrews N.S., Curragha, Co Meath. This will be an opportunity for the pupils of Curragha to meet with the Taoiseach and Minister to commemorate the great work the Blue Star pupils have done this academic year. The celebrations will include the symbolic ‘Handshake for Europe’ which all Blue Star Programme schools across the country will be participating in, throughout ‘Europe Week’.
Speaking ahead of Europe Day, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:
“The EU has changed almost every facet of Irish society over the last 50 years and I believe our decision to join the European Economic Community was the most transformative event in the history of modern Ireland. As we look to the next 50 years of transformation and partnership the importance and relevance of the EU has never been clearer.
“Recognising that importance, I am delighted that today that my colleagues along with Ambassadors from almost every EU Member State represented here in Ireland are travelling to schools and other across the country. I believe we need to work to make the EU an everyday part of the conversation- and that starts with our youth and in our schools.”
Minister Byrne said:
“50 years ago the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to join the European community. Today, amongst all the turmoil and global challenges we face, we are benefiting from the farsightedness of that decision.
“Similarly, the investments we are making in defending our values, protecting our planet and building a fairer Europe will be reaped by tomorrow’s leaders - and today’s school children.”
“Ireland’s decision to join the then EEC has brought transformative and positive change to all aspects of Irish society. The EU has been a catalyst in the creation of the prosperous, progressive and peaceful Ireland we live in today and Ireland is also proud to contribute strongly to today’s European Union.”
Europe Day this year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the historic referendum when 83 percent of Irish people voted in favour of joining the EEC, which would go on to become the EU.
9 May 2022