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Laois student’s project scores him a trip to the European Parliament

Luke Carroll European Parliament

A young Laois student is hoping to head to the European Parliament in March after winning a competition hosted by MEP Billy Kelleher.

Mountrath Community School Transition Year student Luke Carroll was the winner after contestants had to make a digital presentation on what the EU should look like in 2046 – 25 years from now.

The Ballyfin teenager made a website using google sites, where he discussed how the EU should tackle problems such as migration, Russia, Great power conflict, social cohesion, IT Multi-National Corporations, Ireland in the EU, and the new Space race.

He came to many conclusions regarding all these topics from stating that the EU’s migration strategy needs to be overhauled to cope with a future wave of climate migrants from the Sahel, to the outlining of a series of measures to help Ukraine combat Russian aggression.

Luke also made an audio version of his website which was made available in podcast form on Spotify.

Climate change is not a major part of the project and this might seem odd considering that young people consistently view it as the most important issue of the day.

But Luke decided against discussing it because he knew that young people’s views on climate change can be found everywhere and that talking about it again would not do any good.

He wanted to show that young people do think about problems other than climate change.

Luke received the good news in December that his website had won the competition. The prize is a fully-funded trip to Brussels and the European Parliament.

“It was a fantastic feeling knowing that I was getting to visit the place I had seen on the news so many times”, says Luke.

“My goal is to work in EU foreign affairs, being a diplomat in a foreign embassy would be great, this opportunity will bring me one step closer towards my goal.”

Luke’s piece on Russia was written in November and since that time the situation on the Ukrainian border has escalated dramatically.

He said: “I think the points I made on my website are more important than ever, NATO is floundering while Russia is growing more confident.

“The EU needs to take independent action to stop a war on its doorstep without giving more concession to an aggressive Russia.”

The trip to the EU parliament is scheduled for late March and Luke sincerely hopes that Covid-19 won’t ruin any more plans.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.