Oireachtas Essay Competition


Competition Details

We invite you to submit essays in English or Irish on the subject ‘Parliamentary Politics Matters for Peace’ or ‘ An Pharlaimint agus an tSíocháin’.

This essay competition is open to all Senior Cycle students on the Island of Ireland, i.e. 5th Year and 6th Year students in the Republic and to all AS level/A level students.

Its purpose is to encourage you to explore aspects of politics in an original and thought-provoking way.

It is not limited to the school curriculum. You are free (and encouraged) to explore beyond the curriculum.

Naturally, you can use what you have learned so far to inspire you. What you have studied, or are currently studying, in History, Economics, Business Studies, Religious Education, Politics and Society, Irish, English, and other subjects can provide avenues for further research.

Think about times you have wondered:

– Why is something the way it is?
– Where did this idea or concept or way of doing things come from?
– Who benefits and / or does not benefit from this?
– Are there other, better, or worse alternatives?
– etc…

Use newspapers and magazines, newspaper archives, your school or local town or college library, academic papers, the internet etc to aid your research. Be conscious of the quality of your sources.

Expect to draft and re-draft your essay before you are completely happy with it.

Ask teachers, family members, and friends to read your draft and offer feedback. (NOTE: The essay must be your own work, although you may avail of technical assistance in putting it into digital format and submitting it.)

Criteria for success:

The judges who will read and assess your essay are looking for the following:

Writing and presentation skills

  • Essay must be between 900 and 1,000 words.
  • References / citations must be provided.
  • References / citations are not included in the word count.
  • Font: Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Font size: 12.
  • Line spacing: Double-spaced.
  • Paragraphs.
  • Concise, lucid language.
  • Lively, engaging expression.


Evidence of research

  • Evidence that a range of sources has been consulted.
  • Context: a sense of where your argument fits (for example: theoretically, philosophically, historically, economically, etc.).

Strength of argument

  • Clarity of purpose: Account for why you have chosen this topic, and why you have chosen your line of argument in particular.
  • Engage consistently with argument throughout essay.
  • Demonstrate ability to interpret, synthesise, and apply knowledge and understandings gained from your research.

Overall coherence

  • Present a clearly structured argument (beginning, middle, and end).
  • Manage and sustain your ideas throughout the essay.
  • Use good quality, clear language (English or Irish).
  • Expression should be lively, engaging, appropriate.
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate argument and conclusions clearly to a wide audience.

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