Seanad debates

Tuesday, 5 March 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


1:00 pm

Photo of Eugene MurphyEugene Murphy (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I pay tribute to the students from Elphin Community College, County Roscommon, who recently went to the Junk Kouture world final. Up against 60 finalists from throughout the world, they came away with a major prize sponsored by Microsoft. The ladies, Vanessa Kielty, Mary McNulty and Martha Nugent, and their teacher, Susan Prendergast, should be highly commended. This small post-primary school in the west claimed one of those prizes on the world stage. It is extraordinary. The award they got was the Microsoft STEAM award for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The company introduced the award to encourage more women in education to get involved in those subjects. It has been a great celebration, and while they have not yet got their award, they are getting an interview with Microsoft as well. I would like this House to send its good wishes to them. It was great for them to go Monaco and lift that award.

Continuing with education, we should all acknowledge the announcement by the Minister, Deputy Foley, of a new scheme to eliminate the cost of schoolbooks for junior cycle students in post-primary schools. The Minister has to be congratulated, irrespective of people’s different political views. She has been revolutionary in understanding the costs that are involved with schoolbooks. She first did this for primary schools and she is now delivering her promise to do it for post-primary schools. This is very important because the costs for parents are huge. In respect of the primary school initiative, many parents raised with me the fact that they no longer had this cost, and so many people with children in post-primary schools have been saying the same thing. We now see the start of this at post-primary level. I welcome the announcement from the Minister for Education.


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