Fine Gael TDs Tom Barry & David Stanton confronted by tough questions at CBS Mitchelstown
Visiting a school might be perceived as one of the 'easy' jobs for politicians, but when Fine Gael Cork East TDs Tom Barry and David Stanton visited CSPE students from Mitchelstown CBS, they were faced with some tough questions, that perhaps they didn't expect from secondary school students.
The TD's were invited to talk to the students by their teacher Ms Tangney, as part of their Junior Cert project, but the students were not only very informed on hot topics in the political sphere, but also had some pertinent questions for the TDs.
Some of the more serious questions from the students were concerned with the pylons, the salary for our Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD expenses, cuts to disability payments, water charges and the Irish Water debacle, broadband and how or if the politicians use social media, such as Twitter or Facebook.
Those who were perhaps politically inclined themselves then asked some practical questions about how both Tom and David got into politics, why they joined Fine Gael and whether or not either of them would like to become president or taoiseach some day.
One of the issues which was of resounding interest to the students present was whether or not the politicians thought the voting age should be reduced to 16. Deputy Stanton said that it should be lowered to 16, as this would get young people involved and interested in politics at a younger age.
He added that if students were voting, their teachers could encourage them to use their vote and if they are old enough to work and pay taxes, they should be old enough to vote. However, he revealed that he thinks a lower voting age is on the way.
Most young people use social networking in some shape or form and the students were intrigued as to how or if the politicians use things like Twitter or Facebook to engage with their constituents and voters at large.
While Deputy Barry said that he stays away from Twitter and uses Facebook, cautiously, Deputy Stanton has embraced the possibilities of social networking and uses Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Deputy Stanton said that these kind of things are a fact of life and it will only get bigger, so it's good to use those tools to stay on top of what is going on. His party colleague agreed, saying that he can get a huge amount of work through Facebook and it's a very good forum for discussion, but he cautioned that it is easy for people to be nasty and abusive when they are online. Deputy Stanton added that you do have to be careful about how you use platforms like this.
To the surprise of the students, both TDs said that they would not be interested in being president or taoiseach, because when you are in a position like that, a limelight is shone, not only on your work but also on your personal life.
Thursday 6th February 5:21pm