Written by 3rd Year Student Niall Dillon
On the 23rd of January, the second and third year students from Portlaoise College visited Dail Eireann as part of their CSPE action project .We met with the Sinn Fein TD for Laois/Offaly, Brian Stanley outside the Dail and were escorted into the public gallery of the Dail chamber. Here we listened to the debate between Sean Fleming (Fianna Fail), Brian Hayes (Fine Gael) and Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein) about public expenditure. Soon afterwards, we split into two groups and we went on the tour of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
We started in the gallery, where we were shown portraits of former Taoisigh. We also were shown a picture of the meeting of the first Dail in the Mansion House on 21st January 1919. We then went into the Seanad chamber and listened to the debate on water charges for this year. The flag of the Meagher’s Irish Brigade presented to Leinster House by President John F Kennedy when he addressed a joint sitting of the Houses of Oireachtas on 28th June 1963 in recognition of his Irish roots was then presented to us. We were also shown a copy of the 1916 Proclamation presented to the Dail by President Sean T O’Kelly,who was responsible for posting copies around Dublin after they were printed in Liberty Hall, the day before the 1916 Rising.
Our final stop on the tour was to meet with The Fine Gael TD for Laois/Offaly Charlie Flanagan, who talked to us about his work as a TD and encouraged us to get involved and take an interest in local politics. We also met Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who posed with us on for a group photo. Many thanks to the CSPE department and teachers who made the day possible and a special thanks to Charlie Flanagan for making himself available on the day and his words of encouragement.