Regional Winners announced in the 2022 Europe Direct Soapbox Speechmaking Competition

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Europe Direct Waterford this week announced the regional winners in this year’s Annual Soapbox Speechmaking Competition. Waterford student Aoife O’Connor from Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School was the winner in the 16 and under category and Wexford student Aidan Kehoe from Good Counsel College, New Ross was victorious in the 17 and over category. Both received a prize of an Apple iPad Air from the European Commission Representation in Ireland.

Aoife and Aidan competed against entrants throughout the region who all spoke for three minutes on the topic “Is Europe listening to its young people?” – a very relevant topic during 2022 which is the European Year of Youth. Both Aoife and Aidan have secured a place in the National Final where they will represent their region against regional winners from all over Ireland.

Head of the Regional Soapbox Judging Panel, Gerry Arthurs, Lecturer in International Relations & Politics at SETU congratulated both winners and said: “The standard of entries was exceptionally high, making the judging process a challenging – but also very rewarding, informative and encouraging exercise. The judges would like to thank all who took the time to research, record and to submit their entries. Your efforts give us reassurance that your generation will not fail to engage with, and to critique, the policies and actions that will shape the world in which we all have to share. We would also like to thank and to acknowledge the teachers who helped facilitate the entries, and to those in the higher age categories who took the time and the effort to participate.”

The National Soapbox competition is run through seven Europe Direct Centres based in public libraries throughout Ireland and is an initiative of the European Commission Representation in Ireland. The competition always showcases a unique mix of views on the topic and reminds us that debate and discussion remain at the heart of European democracy.

Europe Direct Waterford is part of a community of 424 Europe Direct centres around Europe. Their purpose is to reinforce the important connection between the EU institutions and citizens, providing timely and factual information on European matter and events while coordinating with other EU networks in the region to ensure easier local access to information for citizens, organisations and businesses. Europe Direct Waterford is run from Central Library in Waterford City.

Europe Direct Waterford would like to wish Aoife and Aidan good luck ahead of the National Soapbox Final where contestants will compete for the National title and Prize of €1000. The final will be uploaded to the Libraries Ireland YouTube channel on Monday 19th December at 11am. Libraries Ireland – YouTube

You can view the winning Regional entries on the Europe Direct YouTube Channel at:

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