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Hugely successful Garret FitzGerald Summer School in Kilkenny City - News - Young Fine Gael

Hugely successful Garret FitzGerald Summer School in Kilkenny City

North Kilkenny Young Fine Gael (YFG) welcomed delegates from all over Ireland to the annual Garret FitzGerald Summer School, which took place in Langton's House Hotel in Kilkenny City between 19th-21st July. It was a successful weekend full of policy formation, debates, resolutions, and seminars which spanned on relevant and important topics.

"The weekend was a boost for the local economy in Kilkenny, with two hostels booked out for the weekend, a busy schedule in Langton's House Hotel on Saturday and Sunday, big attendances at local activities like the Greyhound Stadium, the cycling tour, Smithwick's Brewery, and a sampling of the local nightlife," said local member, Killian Foley-Walsh.

"This was the largest ever Garret FitzGerald Summer School and is the largest youth political summer event in Ireland. The motions and agenda included a variety of topics, from job creation to nightclub legislation reform, to the position of the YFG in the impending Seanad Abolition referendum. Members were able to sample the recreational side of Kilkenny too, with a cycling tour of the city, a tour of Smithwick's Brewery and paintballing trip", local YFG member Killian Foley-Walsh said.

"To kick off the weekend with a winning start, delegates were welcomed to Kilkenny's St James' Park Greyhound Stadium for an evening ice-breaker. Under glorious, sunny skies, and with the occasional spot of good luck, the weekend began as it was to go on - with delegates in good spirits and eager to help shape Government and even European policy in the coming months," he continued.

The political thrust of the weekend was the multiple seminars and debating sessions that took place, however, and they were kicked off following the opening addresses by YFG President, Mr Patrick Molloy, Kilkenny County Council Chairman Cllr Pat Dunphy, Fine Gael TD for Carlow/Kilkenny, Dep. John-Paul Phelan, and Kilkenny City Mayor, Cllr Martin Brett.

Deputy Phelan chaired the first round of debates which were the weekend's resolutions. Topics for discussion included a submission from Trinity College YFG on reform of the nightclub industry in Ireland, topics about court and policing reform, followed by the very topical motion, In Support of Regional Economic Blueprints, and finished with a Campaign on the Role of the European Union, which, among other proposals, called on the government to introduce a European governance and politics module at second-level.

"The Seminar Job Creation Creates Ireland's Future chaired by Minister Phil Hogan proved popular, and each panellist made a presentation and took questions from the floor. Members suggested their own ideas on job creation, featuring ideas about language education, rural jobs, digital jobs, and one delegate suggested a hand-bag scrappage scheme to match the car scrappage scheme. While the weekend hefted a heavy policy agenda, there was plenty of time for moment of levity like this in debates," Killian Foley-Walsh said.

One of the most important items on the agenda was the Garret FitzGerald Motion on YFG's stance on the referendum on Seanad Abolition. Following an hour of robust and heated debate, a private ballot revealed a 50/50 split between members, which led the organisation to declare neutrality on the issue, and to allow members to campaign whichever way they see fit.

Sunday's sessions concluded the weekend with the National Assembly, presentations by the Policy Officers and the International Committee, and college meetings. It brought to a close what was a thoroughly enjoyable and productive weekend.

The North Kilkenny branch is going from strength to strength and welcomes new members. They can be contacted on their area of the YFG website here:

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