Business students from across the county join 42-strong group from ATU as guests of MEP Maria Walsh at European Parliament headquarters
MAYO: Mayo was well represented in European Parliament headquarters recently, as five
students from across the county travelled to Strasbourg as guests of MEP Maria Walsh. The
business students from Atlantic Technological University (ATU), formerly GMIT, were part of
a 42-strong contingent from the university. The group also included four lecturers – Deirdre
McHugh, Lorna Moynihan, Cian Marnell and Myles McHugh.
Pre-COVID, MEP Walsh had hosted business scholars from GMIT in Parliament on a
number of occasions. It was especially fitting, however, that this group was one of the first
welcomed by Walsh in 2023 – the European Year of Skills. The Midlands-North-West MEP is
the only Irish member on the Culture and Education Committee, (CULT), and on the
Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL). The designation of 2023 as European
Year of Skills is therefore very applicable to her work and priorities in both committees, as
well as within the constituency.
“It was an absolute pleasure to welcome the ATU contingent and to speak with the students
and give them an introduction and a better understanding of the workings of the European
Parliament. It was also a great opportunity to connect them with Europe and build up the
European identity, while also showing them that there are so many opportunities within the
Parliament for graduates,” said MEP Walsh.
The Mayo students who travelled to Strasbourg were Ian Clarke (Ballina), Ciara Forkan
(Kiltimagh), Saoirse Garvey (Ballinrobe), Conor McEveney (Snugboro), and Huzaifa Rashid
Prior to visiting the European Parliament, the ATU students had completed a course module
in European Studies and so it was particularly interesting for them to experience life in
Strasbourg first hand. “I believe it opened eyes to the potential opportunities that the EU
Institutions have for graduates. We discussed roles in media, translations, with Political
Groups as well as the Institutions themselves, for example, to help them learn a little about
the availability of jobs. They also met some of the other MEPs to get a background on
different files. It was great for them to hear from the Trade Committee, for example, outlining
would require people with a business or economic background. It’s not just about politics,
the European Parliament offers so much more,” explained MEP Walsh.
As one the youngest sitting MEPs, and the youngest Irish MEP, Walsh is extremely
conscious of the importance of empowering young people and ensuring the EU remains
relevant across all generations. “Welcoming such a large group from ATU was fantastic and
great credit goes to their lecturers, for seeing the importance of the EU and enabling each
student to come and see the European Parliament at work. It was heartening to see the
interest and enthusiasm among the students and to play a part in improving the connection
the students have with European identity. You never know – we may see some of these
students back in Parliament sooner than we think,” she added.