The effect that Brexit could have on Ireland was the burning topic for the Europe Direct Soapbox debate for Under 19s on October 25 in Mountmellick Library & Europe Direct Centre.
Students from across Laois took part in what was a lively and entertaining public speaking event.
Each contestant had three minutes to present their arguments, convince the judges and persuade the audience for or against the topic.
The 'soapbox' originated in Hyde Park, London and this annual competition is a popular forum today for Laois' budding and practiced public speakers.
All of the speakers gave clear and well structured speeches on the night.
First prize went to Emma Comerford, 5th year, Mountmellick CS, with 2nd prize to Susie Manza and 3rd to Arwen Kavanagh.
Last Tuesday, Emma accompanied by school supporters, took part in the National Debate on the topic 'Brexit: Ireland's Opportunity' at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
“Emma delivered her speech excellently, well done,” her school said.
Prizes are sponsored by the European Commission Representation in Ireland and local Members of the European Parliament.
Judges for the Mountmellick competition were Margaret Walshe, Sheelagh Coyle and Kieran Madden.
The Europe Direct Information Centre in Mountmellick library is part of an EU wide network of information points for citizens, offering advice on policies, local and regional information from EU institutions, inviting debate and feedback on the EU.