This weekend the first annual Garret FitzGerald Summer School will take place in Killarney County Kerry. For Young Fine Gael members the annual Summer School has always been an opportunity to learn about how the organisation works, to get know other members from across the country, to debate various policies and to enjoy the summer (whatever that is). Summer School has always provided a forum for people to develop new ideas and learn about Irish politics in a practical environment and to change minds or be swayed by the arguments of others.
This year marks a change. It is the first year that the Young Fine Gael Summer School has been renamed in celebration of the man who established our organisation, inspired generations of Irish people and is still revered as one of Ireland’s great statesmen. In 1977, the then leader of Fine Gael, Garret FitzGerald created a real opportunity for young people to participate in the actual politics of Ireland, to bring the issues they were concerned about to the same table as other more generally held concerns.
In this spirit, the Garret FitzGerald Summer School will look to provide an opportunity to discuss issues of concern and interest to young Irish people. This will take place through the thirteen motions put forward by members for debate. These range from the legalisation of medical marijuana to calls for weekend voting to make it easier for youth participation in politics and many other motions in between.
These debates will be followed by a seminar focusing on the Tourism sector and the role of trained graduates with specialist skills. This seminar will be addressed by Sean Kelly, MEP; Brendan Griffin, TD for South Kerry; Shaun Quinn, CEO of Failte Ireland; Michael Vaughan, President of the Irish Hotels Federation and Michael Rosney, a highly decorated Kerry Hotelier and former Vice President of the Irish Hotels Federation. This seminar will give insight into how the indigenous tourism sector is changing and developing in the current climate and how new graduates are making a contribution in this process.
This weekend reflects the history of Young Fine Gael and Garret FitzGerald. It is a weekend that is about ideas and the things people care about. It is about helping people to develop, grow and form a vision of what the Ireland of tomorrow can or should look like. I look forward to welcoming delegates and to celebrating the founder of our organisation at the inaugural Garret FitzGerald YFG Summer School.