An important way to introduce students to our democratic system is to bring them into Dáil Éireann to see how our democracy operates.
There are three ways of organising school trips to visit the Dáil and Seanad.
The first is that the school books their classes in for a grand tour, which takes about an hour. The feedback from these usher-led tours is excellent and highly praised.
Secondly, the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas has a wide range of educational resources for students, teachers and the general public.
The outreach services support the Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) programme in secondary schools, giving our young citizens an insight into public affairs, democracy and our political system.
Oireachtas Education Officers are available for classroom visits, and school tours of Leinster House can be arranged.
Finally, there is the Oireachtas in the Classroom workshop. This workshop is aimed at educating students about the role of the Houses of the Oireachtas and the work of its Members.
Through the Oireachtas Classroom workshop, students learn about democracy, their own national parliament and how it impacts on their lives. They also meet TDs and Senators and hear their views on the issues that matter to young people.
This Classroom workshop is part of the Junior Cert cycle of Civil, Social and Political Education (CSPE). The workshop includes:
- Preparatory research to be carried out by students
- Ideas for 'action projects' about Democracy and
- Follow up activities and events
Students have the option of having the Oireachtas classroom workshop in their own school, together with a visit by the local Oireachtas members. Alternatively, students can visit Leinster House, have a tour and receive the Oireachtas Classroom workshop and meet their local TDs and Senators.
Below you can see some recent visitors to the Dail and it is always my pleasure to speak with teachers and students who come on their visit and engage in political dialogue with them. The students below are from: Our Lady's School, Saint Louise’s School Rathmines, Saint John’s College, De La Salle, Ballyfermot, Saint Damien’s School Perrystown and Our Ladies School Templeogue, Drimnagh Castle, St Audoens, Inchicore National School and Caritas College in Drumfinn Road.