Education for Schools project 2011
The Education for Schools project is an initiative I am undertaking in a bid to increase awareness among students of the Oireachtas and its relevance to our everyday lives.
As a former Outreach Education Officer for the Houses of the Oireachtas and a qualified primary and secondary school teacher, I am visiting schools across the Constituency to deliver the following workshops. The aim of these workshops is to create awareness among students of the workings of the Irish Parliament and their relevance to citizens lives. The session on the Economy is designed to educate students on the current financial crisis in both an Irish and European context.

The Economy – an overview for students in the senior cycle.
As a member of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, I have a particular interest in the Economy and financial matters. This session will provide the students with a factual overview of the current financial crisis and serve to equip the students with the necessary language to understand and question current and future developments in the economy.
Day in day out, our TV’s, Newspapers and Radio stations bombard us with terms and details relating to the current economic crisis that are difficult to understand. The scale and severity of this crisis has led to an entire new vocabulary with buzz words such as deficit, deleveraging and GDP floating around on a daily basis.
In this session I propose to outline to the class in a meaningful and structured way the timeline leading to the crisis, the current position of the country’s finances and the likely future impact for their generation. I also hope to answer the following questions in easy to understand and clear language:-

• What is Ireland’s current annual budget? How is it spent? How much goes on Health, Education etc.
• How much do we owe other countries/institutions?
• What is sovereign debt?
• Why has the Government put so many billions in to banks and continue to cut health and education budgets?
• What is the EU/IMF? Why are they telling Ireland what to do? How long more will they be our bosses?
• How did the banks loose so much money? Where did that money go? Why do tax payers have to pay it back?
• What is the European financial crisis? Why is there so much talk about Greece? What impact does Greece or the Euro have on Ireland?
• Can we just print more money as a solution?
The lesson Plan for the workshop on the Economy can be viewed here:-JD The Economy lesson plan

The Oireachtas for Transition Year Students
This session provides students with an overview of the workings of the Irish Parliament. It covers the areas of the Oireachtas, Democracy, Rules and Laws and Political philosophies. The session is delivered in an interesting and engaging way allowing for adequate questioning by the students. During this lesson, students will also learn where to source information and facts relevant to the Oireachtas and the Irish political system. The workshop will last for one hour.
The lesson plan for the workshop on the Oireachtas can be viewed here:-JD The Oireachtas lesson plan