Politics and Society students in Coláiste Chiaráin were treated to a rather rare event on Tuesday last when members of the Municipal District of Adare Rathkeale convened their monthly meeting in the school’s lecture hall. The meeting, facilitated in the Croom school’s state-of-the-art campus, was observed by more than 40 students studying the new Leaving Certificate subject.
Discussions on topical issues such as housing and budget allocation allowed students a unique insight into the cut and thrust of local governance. The meeting was followed by a lively Q-and-A between the young observers, the elected representatives, and local authority officers, who engaged with great detail and enthusiasm. Areas such as housing, gender representation initiatives, and municipal allocation were raised from the floor, as well as a thorough overview of the workings of the council and the duties of officials.
Commenting on the event, Politics and Society teacher Michael Dooley said that ‘it’s a singular opportunity for these students, to have policy and decision making brought to life for them in their very own school. We’re incredibly grateful to the representatives and officials, and to the Cathaoirleach Cllr. Stephen Keary, in particular, for what was an immensely engaging and informative session.’ He continued ‘The level of interaction was fantastic. Councillors regularly clarified terms and procedures, spoke directly to students. It’s just an invaluable contribution to their exam preparations. Albeit, they [the councillors] ought to watch out. Students were bitten by the bug of local politics today. They should keep an eye on their seats.’