A group of women involved in various educational roles, including three from the Midlands, visited the European Parliament last week at an invitation from Seán Kelly, MEP.
The purpose of the trip was to give an insight into the workings of the European Parliament and to discuss educational issues important to the visiting group.
Those undertaking the four-day tour included Pia Hughes, headmistress of St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone; Dolores Killian, teacher at An Grianán NS, Mount Temple and member of the INTO Education and Research Committee; and Sandra Nolan, director of Crinkle NS at Birr.
Alice O’Donnell, a Wicklow-based special educator, and Dr Celia Walsh, a former director of the Wexford Education Center who now works in the third tier, joined locals on the trip.
The group benefited from a visit to the European Parliament, as well as a parliamentary briefing, and had the opportunity to talk about educational issues at primary level.
“The five of us are passionate about education and it has been an incredible honor to receive this invitation and to have the opportunity to speak about educational issues close to our hearts for the benefit of pupils in our own schools and Irish education. at the primary national level,” said Dolores Killian, from Ferbane.
As well as visiting the European Parliament and a few other sites in the Belgian capital, the group had the opportunity to experience more of the country’s culture by visiting Ghent, Bruges and Yvres.
They stopped at the Island of Ireland Peace Park near Ypres in Flanders, Belgium, which is a war memorial to soldiers from the Island of Ireland who died, were wounded or disappeared from the First World War.
The site includes a 110ft tower partly built with stone sourced from a former British Army barracks in Tipperary, with the rest of the stone sourced from a workshop outside Mullingar.
Dolores said that she and the other educators on the trip wanted to sincerely thank Seán Kelly, MEP, for this wonderful learning opportunity in Brussels, which they enjoyed immensely.
Seán Kelly is himself a former primary school teacher and a former president of the GAA.