Wednesday 16 September 2015


Sacred Heart pupils will take Stormont by storm next month, when they participate in a Mock Council of the European Union. 

Six form students Aislinng Clarke, Sarah Doran, Grainne Kearney and Teresa King, will take on the role of the European Commission at the annual debate, putting forward two of the most important issues facing Europe — the current migrant crisis and the investment plan for Europe.

They will be joined at the event, which is organised by the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland and British Council Northern Ireland, by 28 other schools from across Northern Ireland who will make up the countries of the EU, with one of the schools winning a trip to the European Commission in Brussels.

To launch the event, the pupils and their teacher Mr Taggart, met with Colette FitzGerald, Head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland and Patrick Black, from British Council Northern Ireland, to begin their research into the role of the European Commission and its importance in relation to Northern Ireland. 

Speaking about the opportunity, Mr Taggart, Head of Politics, said:  “By playing the role of the EU Council all the students involved will come away with a deeper understanding of the role of the EU and how it affects their daily lives. 

“The event will provide a unique opportunity for students not only to think critically about current issues but also to form their own conclusions as well as appreciating those of others.”

Congratulating the students for taking up the role of representing the European Commission, Colette FitzGerald said:  “I am delighted to be at Sacred Heart Grammar School today to meet with the students who have taken on the important role of representing the European Commission at the Mock Council event in October.  

“The EU offers significant opportunities for Northern Ireland to build on its economic, trade, educational and cultural links throughout Europe and it is important that students learn about how it works in practice.  The Mock Council is an ideal forum to create greater awareness among young people about the EU and to allow them to engage in debates and political negotiations.  I look forward to helping Sacred Heart in their preparations for the role.”

Speaking after the event, David Alderdice, British Council Northern Ireland Director, said: “In order for Northern Ireland to compete internationally we must continue to develop young people who are comfortable in the global marketplace. 

“Programmes like the Mock Council contribute to that agenda and help young people develop skills that they will use as their careers develop. We hope these young people continue to avail themselves of international development opportunities as they continue their education. The Mock Council is one such opportunity and many other possibilities are available through British Council’s Study, Work, Create initiative.”

The Mock Council of the European Union will take place at Parliament Buildings on Friday, October 23. Schools still interested in taking part still have time to register, with the event aimed at 16-18 year-olds interested in European affairs or politics. For more information visit, on Twitter: BCouncil_NI or on Facebook:


Notes to Editor

For further information please contact: 

- Claire McAuley T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI  Facebook:

About the British Council

British Council Northern Ireland creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.  A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant, and we earn the rest from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships. For more information, please visit:

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