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Winners of UL essay competition prove they have the ‘write’ stuff The themes of emigration and the role of young people in building a sustainable future in Ireland were eloquently debated in a series of award-winning essays at University of Limerick this week. Senior cycle students from secondary schools around the country impressed with their submissions to the UL Regional Writing Centre’s National Secondary School Essay-writing Competition, with three students claiming prizes at a dedicated on-campus award ceremony. Now in its thirteenth year, the competition gives Transition and 5th-year students the opportunity to write persuasively on social issues that are relevant to them, in preparation for the argumentative writing they will perform later at third level. This year’s entrants were asked to write an essay of response to Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik’s statement that “Ireland feels like no country for young people”. Deputy Bacik’s comment followed the revelation by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) that seven in 10 young people are “considering emigration for a better quality of life than in Ireland”. Entrants were asked to take a decisive stance on the statement, with the resulting submissions exploring themes such as the cost of living and the housing crisis. Pictured L-R are Runner Up Sophie Maher from Moycullen Co Galway and Overall Winner Annabel Bogue from Monaghan Town. Pic Arthur Ellis Winners of UL essay competition prove they have the ‘write’ stuff The themes of emigration and the role of young people in building a sustainable future in Ireland were eloquently debated in a series of award-winning essays at University of Limerick this week. Senior cycle students from secondary schools around the country impressed with their submissions to the UL Regional Writing Centre’s National Secondary School Essay-writing Competition, with three students claiming prizes at a dedicated on-campus award ceremony. Now in its thirteenth year, the competition gives Transition and 5th-year students the opportunity to write persuasively on social issues that are relevant to them, in preparation for the argumentative writing they will perform later at third level. This year’s entrants were asked to write an essay of response to Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik’s statement that “Ireland feels like no country for young people”. Deputy Bacik’s comment followed the revelation by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) that seven in 10 young people are “considering emigration for a better quality of life than in Ireland”. Entrants were asked to take a decisive stance on the statement, with the resulting submissions exploring themes such as the cost of living and the housing crisis. Pictured L-R are Runner Up Sophie Maher from Moycullen Co Galway and Overall Winner Annabel Bogue from Monaghan Town. Pic Arthur Ellis

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Winners of UL essay competition prove they have the ‘write’ stuff

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Pictured are UL essay competition Runner Up Sophie Maher from Moycullen Co Galway and Overall Winner Annabel Bogue from Monaghan Town. Pic Arthur Ellis

Series of award-winning essays in UL essay competition tackle themes of emigration and sustainability

Pictured are Lawrence Cleary, Regional Writing Centre, Overall Winner Annabel Bogue, Co. Monaghan, Dr Ronni M. Greenwood, University of Limerick, Runner Up Sophie Maher, Co. Galway and Molly McNamara, Regional Writing Centre. Pic Arthur Ellis

The themes of emigration and the role of young people in building a sustainable future in Ireland were eloquently debated in a series of award-winning essays at University of Limerick this week.

Senior cycle students from secondary schools around the country impressed with their submissions to the UL Regional Writing Centre’s National Secondary School Essay-writing Competition, with three students claiming prizes at a dedicated on-campus award ceremony.

Now in its thirteenth year, the competition gives Transition and 5th-year students the opportunity to write persuasively on social issues that are relevant to them, in preparation for the argumentative writing they will perform later at third level.


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This year’s entrants were asked to write an essay of response to Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik’s statement that “Ireland feels like no country for young people”.

Deputy Bacik’s comment followed the revelation by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) that seven in 10 young people are “considering emigration for a better quality of life than in Ireland”. Entrants were asked to take a decisive stance on the statement, with the resulting submissions exploring themes such as the cost of living and the housing crisis.

The winning submission came from Annabel Bogue, who wrote about the role of young people in building a sustainable future in her essay ‘Empowering Ireland’s Future’.

Prizes were also presented to Sophie Maher for her essay ‘Driven Away’, and Ornait O’ Donoghue for her essay ‘Ireland Feels Like No Country for Young People’.

ul essay competition
Overall Winner Annabel Bogue, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan with Dr Ronni M. Greenwood, Associate Vice President Student Engagement University of Limerick. Photo: Arthur Ellis

“The winners of this year’s competition, as in past years, have produced the most unique and compelling cases for their positions on the topic presented and, by participating in this exercise, have taken the first step in reflecting and re-evaluating who they are in the face of the opposing or differing positions of others; the first step in a life-long re-evaluation, through communication with others, of who they are and who they want to be known to be. We don’t always have to justify ourselves to others, but doing so helps us to justify who we are to ourselves and to be more knowledgeable about the basis for that justification,” said Lawrence Cleary, Director of the Regional Writing Centre.

The Regional Writing Centre at UL offers a free and friendly place for students at the University to come and address any aspect of their writing. This annual competition extends that reach out to the community, highlighting the Centre’s commitment to a life-long learning approach to writing in all contexts, whether academic, professional or personal.

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Runner Up Sophie Maher, Dominican College, Galway, Co. Galway and Dr Ronni M. Greenwood, Associate Vice President Student Engagement University of Limerick . Pic Arthur Ellis

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.