Among the 16 finalists from across the island of Ireland were three students from Connaught, who ably debated the question “Has the struggle for freedom, justice and equality been realised in Ireland’s institutions, culture and society?”
The three students from Connaught were Anna Ní Laoi, Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin, Co. na Gaillimhe, Emma Whitney, Convent of Mercy Roscommon, Co. Roscommon and Katelin Vaughan, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Co. Clare.
Speaking after the debate Senator Higgins said “I warmly congratulate all sixteen students from across Ireland and their teachers and families on reaching the finals today. It was an incredibly inspiring occasion. The students spoke with passion, conviction and eloquently highlighted areas in which freedom, justice and equality between men and women has not yet been achieved. The underrepresentation of women in politics, the wage gap, women’s lack of bodily autonomy, homelessness, worker’s rights and domestic violence were among the issues highlighted by the students today.”
“I want to particularly congratulate Anna, Emma and Katelin who spoke with eloquence, passion and thoughtfulness on how there is still much to do to, as Emma said, to continue the work of the strong female pioneers of the suffragette movement. The students in the Seanad today represent a new generation of passionate young women who will turn the struggle for equality into the sea-change society needs. I share their passion, I am inspired by their vision and look forward to working with them to make a better society for everyone.”