EM Ireland Latest News logo

PRESS RELEASE: Fresh perspective on Ireland-EU relationship provided by award winning students

An Taoiseach presents €1,500 bursary award to Irish student in EM Ireland competition, supported by KBC Bank Ireland

Dublin, June 2 2013: Ireland’s accession to the EU 40 years ago and the huge changes that have since occurred was marked at a Gala event in Dublin attended by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, organised by European Movement Ireland and supported by KBC Bank Ireland.

At the event, UCD student Brian Bolger was awarded the EM Ireland 40 Years of Change Bursary, supported by KBC Bank Ireland and presented by An Taoiseach. Brian won an essay competition which invited students to critically examine how Ireland and the EU have developed over the past 40 years and how this relationship may develop over the next 40. He received a Waterford Crystal trophy and a bursary in the amount of €1,500. Second and third placed runners-up also received prizes on the night (see note at end)


Speaking at the event on Ireland’s relationship with the EU, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said:

“The last 40 years have seen great changes in Ireland. Our relationship with the EU brought social and economic progress, we have become a more equal society and an island at peace. Today we continue to work together to emerge from financial crisis, to restore economic stability in Europe and to achieve renewed growth and job creation. The course of Ireland’s recent history is inextricably bound up with that of the EU and our future will be too. This is why the continuing work of the European Movement Ireland in providing information, raising awareness and stimulating debate is so important. It is also why it is such a rich subject for the winning essay-writers who will be announced here tonight. I congratulate them and thank KBC Bank for their generosity in supporting this bursary.”


Executive Director of EM Ireland, Noelle O Connell, echoed the Taoiseach’s comments saying:

“At EM Ireland, we saw the 40 Year of Change Bursary Award as an excellent way to mark both the Irish Presidency of the EU and the 40th anniversary of Irish accession to the EU.  We were delighted to partner with KBC Bank Ireland on this competition which, above all else, has demonstrated to us the calibre of critical insight and constructive analysis which we can expect from Ireland’s next generation of leaders. My congratulations to all the competition entrants and, most particularly, to the finalists who articulated the fresh perspective of a new generation on Ireland’s relationship with Europe.”


KBC Bank Ireland CEO, John Reynolds congratulated winner of the bursary award, Brian Bolger, saying that the bank was delighted to support the ‘EM Ireland 40 Years of Change’ Bursary Award:

2013 marks KBC Bank Ireland’s 40th year in Ireland. We have been providing customers with financial services since 1973 and it is timely that Ireland’s 40 year anniversary – as well as the country’s Presidency of the EU – coincides with KBC’s anniversary. As a result, the sponsorship was a great fit for KBC, a bank centered in Europe. As Ireland marches forward, our relationship with Europe has never been more important and the essay entries were an excellent reminder of how this integral relationship has developed and where we go from here. I would like to congratulate all who entered and the three finalists who put together thought-provoking, well researched arguments”.




Notes for Editors

The EMI Ireland “40 Years of Change” Bursary Award supported by KBC Bank Ireland

Students addressed the following question: “Critically examine how the relationship between  Ireland and the EU have developed over the past forty years and how this relationship may develop over the next forty.”   Essay style answers were between 1,500 and 2,000 words.

Entries were reviewed by an independent panel of judges drawn from the worlds of academia and politics.  Chaired by KBC Bank Ireland Chief Executive, John Reynolds, the panel included Dr Mary Canning, member of the Royal Irish Academy and member of Board of the Higher Education Authority and European Movement Ireland, and David Byrne, former EU Commissioner and Chancellor emeritus Dublin City University.

Brian Bolger, who is studying International History and Politics in UCD received first prize while Heather Lang studying History and Political Science in Trinity was first runner up and Alice Chambers studying European Studies in Trinity was second runner up. All three received individual Waterford crystal trophies.

About KBC Bank Ireland

KBC Bank Ireland has been operating in Ireland for 40 years and has been a member of the KBC Group since 1978. As one of Ireland’s leading banks, KBC provides business and personal banking services to customers throughout Ireland. Our 700 employees in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast and Galway are dedicated to working in partnership with our customers to ensure their financial needs are met.

A member of one of Europe’s largest banking groups, KBC is committed to delivering responsible but innovative banking that is grounded in customer and shareholder value.

About European Movement Ireland

Founded in 1954, European Movement Ireland is a not-for-profit, voluntary, membership organisation working to make the connection between Irish people and the European Union.  For more information about European Movement Ireland’s campaigns, programmes, information briefings and events, visit www.europeanmovement.ie.

Through education programmes and advocacy work, European Movement campaigns for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and, by doing so, help shape it through reasoned, robust and informed debate.  Full details of EM Ireland’s Presidency Programme are available from http://www.europeanmovement.ie/irelands-eu-presidency/.

Further information:

EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, is available for interview and comment.  Contact EM Ireland’s Communications and Membership Manager, Jenny Flynn, on 01 662 5815 or email jenny@europeanmovement.ie.


, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply