A famous person once said that “Democracy is the worst system of all, with the exception of all the others”.
‘Parliamentary Politics Matters’ is the theme for to a new essay competition for Senior Cycle/AS level/A level students.
There are many challenges facing society, at home and abroad. To overcome these, and to work for the wellbeing and security of all, we need a healthy, functioning democracy. The interest and engagement of young people is essential for this.
We would like students to reflect on the importance of democracy to our country and to consider the work of parliament in particular (the Oireachtas, Northern Ireland Assembly, UK Parliament etc). We invite you to submit essays in English or Irish on the subject ‘Parliamentary Politics Matters’ or ‘Tábhacht na Polaitíochta Parlaiminte’.
Politics is everywhere. We need the people who run for election. But just as important are those who prepare the ideas, organise, canvass, campaign – and then help deliver. There are people out front, people in the background, people in the administration. Political life grows out of community life – residents’ associations, trade unions, church and sporting organisations etc: all matter, and all have a role to play.
Yes, there are problems. We see conflicts of ideas, conflicts of language and conflicts of interest of course. But most of us, when we think about it, are thankful to live in a democracy. Our Government is “of the people, by the people and for the people”. We can change that Government every four of five years if we wish.
None of this should be taken for granted. Not everyone is so lucky. There are parts of the world that have never known democracy. And other places where democracy is under threat.
We hope this competition gets you thinking about politics – why it is important, how you can find your place in it, and how you can improve it.
Whatever the ups and downs you see in our system of Government, politics does matter and we need everyone to be involved. For a fair society to continue, persons of all talents and abilities, all ages and social backgrounds are needed.
The future needs you. Politics matters. Parliamentary politics matters.
We look forward to reading your essays and wish you the best of luck.
Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD,