Fermanagh student Darcey Crawford was one of just 24 teenagers from all over the island of Ireland to be presented with a Rotary Youth Leadership Development certificate at the European Parliament’s (EP) offices in Dublin recently.

The competition, which is one of Rotary Ireland’s longest running youth projects, rewards young people with clear leadership potential based on their extra-curricular activities. It is run in conjunction with the European Parliament Liaison Office in Dublin and Euroscola in Strasbourg.

Darcey, a student at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, received her certificate from Rotary Ireland District Governor Captain Sean Fitzgerald and Patrick O’Riordan, Head of Public Affairs at the EP’s office in Ireland.

After being disrupted by Covid-19 for the last two years, this year saw a welcome return to the regular itinerary which involves visits to Belfast, Dublin, and Strasbourg.

During the six-day all expenses paid trip, the competition winners visited Belfast City Hall where they met Lord Mayor Tina Black and Stormont, where they met and chatted with politicians from various parties.

Then it was on to Europe House in Dublin where they were presented with their certificates before a trip to Dail Eireann where they met the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, and several TDs.

They then flew to Frankfurt for a two-day visit to Strasbourg. After being formally welcomed by the President of the EP, Robert Metsola, the students took part in an interactive workshop which allowed them to discuss and vote on amendments to an EU proposal on climate action targets.

The students also enjoyed a walking tour of Strasbourg, and met students from a host of other countries.

Darcey, who is a member of the NICCY Youth Panel, Fermanagh and Omagh Youth Voice, and her school’s debating team, said she would recommend the competition to any young person who has any interest in the workings of the EU and politics in general.

“My highlight of the week was the day in Euroscola, but the entire week has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sitting in the hemicycle in the European Parliament and being able to voice my opinion and listen to other young people from 25 different countries is an experience that I will never forget.”

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