Mairead McGuinness paid a visit to St Mary's College on Friday morning.
Two local schools had a very special guest on Friday as Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness paid official visits to both St Joseph’s Primary School in Muirhevna Mor and St Mary’s College in the town.
The local MEP first stopped off at St Joseph's to speak to fifth and sixth class pupils, enjoying the facilities in their new extension which was officially opened in late 2016.
The school is participating in the Blue Star Programme 2017-2018 which aims to foster an understanding of the EU among schoolchildren and McGuinness discussed the EU, how it works and her own role as Vice-President with the children.
"The whole school is involved with really interesting projects about the culture and history of the many different countries in the European Union," McGuinness said.
"It was great to listen to the children and discuss how the European Union works and why working together is so important. The children were well aware of Brexit and had lots of questions about what it means for Ireland.
"Like so many of their fellow students in schools throughout the country they have an innate understanding of the unity and co-operation that underlies European membership,” she continued, whilst also paying tribute to teacher Marie Sheppard and Principal Dr. Roz Morris.
Afterwards, Ms McGuinness spoke with transition year students at St Mary's College about how the the European Union, her ongoing work and Brexit.
"Brexit is a real challenge to that sense of unity, which the EU is all about, and being on the border, the pupils had a real sense of the ground shifting underneath their feet and their community with the fears for any change to the current situation when the UK leaves the EU in March next year,” she said.
The former broadcaster thanked transition year student Caitlin Rooney for the invitation to visit the school, which also coincided with Cycle Against Suicide's 'Go Orange' campaign of which McGuinness is a staunch supporter.
"I was impressed by the range of questions the students asked, from Brexit to how the EU institutions works,” she said.
"Mental health issues also featured strongly with my visit coinciding with the Cycle Against Suicide's 'Go Orange' campaign entitled ‘It's OK not to feel OK’ in which schools around country are participating in the national #SchoolsGoOrange campaign."
She thanked teacher Edel Ní Dhoirnín and Principal, Alan Craven for facilitating her visit and wished them well in their fantastic school building.
Lovely to visit St Mary’s College, Dundalk and chat to TY students about the #EU and my work in @Europarl_EN Today is mental health awareness day - happy to wear orange in support #SchoolsGoOrange @CASuicide pic.twitter.com/MFp1vlFLMz— Mairead McGuinness (@MaireadMcGMEP) February 9, 2018