A contingent of European adult learners and tutors got to experience firsthand the workings of Irish politics, when The Portlaoise Adult Education Centre, Laois & Offaly ETB, recently hosted the Léargas Grundtvig European Partnership Project ‘How to Educate Learners through Peer Mentoring’.
Adult learners and tutors from second chance adult education institutions in Germany, France, Spain, Greece and the United Kingdom visited Laois from May 11 - 15.
The theme of the Irish meeting was ‘Active Citizenship’ with a particular focus on political engagement and the importance of voting in local, national and European elections. The visitors were welcomed to the adult education centre by CEO Joe Cunningham, Tony Dalton (director of further education services) and Kathleen Dunne (adult literacy organiser). The EU visitors had the opportunity to witness local politics in action at Laois County Council’s final meeting before the election, where they were also warmly welcomed by cathaoirleach Mary Sweeney and county manager Peter Carey.
The EU partners also experienced Irish politics at a national level during a visit to Dáil Eireann, where Minister Charlie Flanagan took time out of his busy schedule to greet the visitors. At the end of the trip Andrea Hein from Germany said it was a wonderful opportunity, adding: “This whole experience will hopefully give our learners the confidence to find their own voice and become active citizens in their own right.”