Young Fine Gael (YFG) is the youth wing of the Fine Gael party for people aged 15 to 35.
As an autonomous youth organisation, it has the advantage of embodying the values of the Fine Gael Party, while maintaining the independence to express views of young people.
By: Siobhán Brosnan, PRO
Last weekend Kerry Young Fine Gael welcomed members from all over the country and even from parts of Europe to the Garret FitzGerald Summer School. This is an annual event that is held in different locations around Ireland each year. This year Tralee was the place to be as it was the destination chosen by the National Executive.
Debates, Motions and Guest Speakers
Members began arriving on Friday afternoon for a jam packed weekend full of debates, motions and guest speakers. The weekend started off with a social in The Greyhound Bar where members were able to catch up with friends on what was happening around in their constituencies and members were also able to make new friends.
Some members have been coming to summer school with over 15 years while some embarked on the journey for the first time.
Political Issues and Opinions
Members got the chance to chat about various political issues and opinions. The Manor West Hotel was the location for the weekend and members booked into accommodation in the KingsCourt Apartments.
Saturday morning began with members gathering in the Castlemaine Suite. The opening address was by Killian Foley-Walsh, President of YFG, while Conor O’Mahony, Chairperson of Kerry YFG, welcomed all to the beautiful county of Kerry and to Tralee.
Senator Paul Coughlan Chaired
Branches had nominated many different motions for discussion over the past few weeks and only 10 were chosen to be debated and voted on. Senator Paul Coghlan chaired the debate around the motions and 8 out of 10 motions were carried through to be brought forward to the Government in the near future. Lunch was provided by the Manor West Hotel and was enjoyed by all.
Climate Change and Agriculture
On Saturday afternoon the Garret FitzGerald Seminar was held on Climate Change and Agriculture. Cllr Eileen Lynch (Cork County Council) was the chair for this discussion and she was joined by a panel of Sean Kelly MEP, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and the Director General of the EPA, Laura Burke.
Each panel member gave an insight into the topic and answered questions from the audience.
Securing the Third Term
After this there were parallel sessions held and this included: Think In – Securing the Third Term hosted by Minister Brendan Griffin TD National Executive and YFG Councillors; Over 23s Session – Political Activism and your Career, hosted by Genevieve O’Mahony, Cllr. Evie Sammon, Kildare County Council; Philip O’Callaghan, Advisor to An Taoiseach; Cllr. Colm O’Rourke, Dublin City Council and Cllr. Conor Bergin, Laois County Council.
Both sessions held great debate and all members thoroughly enjoyed learning about the future of politics and careers in politics.
Fun Activities and Team Building
Fun activities were organised for the evening as part of team building and so members could get a chance to get to know others. Three activities were offered; Paintballing, Coasteering and Mini-Golf. All members had great fun and some you could say enjoyed the winning factor.
Members set off to O’Donnell’s Bar in the evening for some food and a disco. There were three awards to be given out to various people and groups. The first award was for PRO of the Year and Luke Corkery of Dublin Fingal YFG was the special member to win, he had contributed immensely throughout the local elections and kept everyone up to date on social media of what was happening in his branch.
Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan
Next up was Policy Document of the Year, this was awarded to the Engagement Committee for their Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. The last award of the evening was the much anticipated Branch of the year award, this was awarded to Laois YFG for the great work that they have put in over the past year. Members danced the rest of the night away.
Sunday morning was time for the International Committee Session.
This session was chaired by International Secretary Paula Campbell, she was joined by Maria Walsh MEP and they discussed what is happening in the EU Parliament at the moment and what the future holds.
Questions Asked, Concerns Voiced
Summer School ended with the National Assembly where the National Executive reported on what had happened since the last Summer School. Members were then able to ask questions to the executive and voice some of their concerns.
Just before the close of Summer School it was announced that the Young Fine Gael National Conference would take place on the weekend of 22nd – 24th November in Mount Wolseley House and Golf Resort, Tullow, Co. Carlow.
Great Discussions and Craic
The weekend was a very enjoyable experience and it was great to meet up and chat with our friends from all over the country. We had great discussions and craic throughout and we look forward to seeing everyone again in November for the National Conference.
Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who helped organise the event.
If anyone would be interested in joining our group, you can get in contact through the website: www.yfg.ie or message us on Facebook @KerryYFG
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