The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) is collaborating with the Courts Service in the development of the Comhrá pilot programme.
During a 30-minute video call at 12 noon last Friday, students asked Supreme Court judges questions in relation to the work of the court and the role of a judge.
The participating judges in this inaugural video call were Chief Justice Frank Clarke and Ms Justice Mary Irvine. The judges were located at the Four Courts, which is the seat of the Supreme Court.
On his appointment in 2017, Chief Justice Clarke pledged to bring the Supreme Court to the people of Ireland, as far as possible.
The court sat for the first time in the Aula Max at NUI Galway, earlier this year.
The Chief Justice commented: “This interactive engagement with second-level students will, it is hoped, demonstrate how technology can be used to encourage young people to better understand the work of the Supreme Court.
“As a Supreme Court for all of Ireland it is important that all citizens – young and old – are able to visit the Supreme Court, even if remotely, and learn more about the work of the Court to gain a greater understanding of how the courts of Ireland uphold the Constitution.
“This pilot initiative has the full support of the Supreme Court and it is hoped that, if successful, future calls will take place with many students across the country, providing them with an opportunity to learn more about the Supreme Court and role of Judges under the Constitution of Ireland.”
Clive Byrne, Director of the NAPD said the body is delighted to collaborate with the Courts Service in the development of Comhrá.
“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and represents a unique organ within the Irish state.
“The Comhrá Pilot will allow four secondary schools from across the country the opportunity to engage directly with members of the Supreme Court and to learn more about its functions and responsibilities, and the wide-ranging careers of its eight members.
“Education is also about learning outside the classroom. This programme is a perfect example of our efforts to broaden our students’ horizons and expose them to learning experiences they would not typically have during their normal school day.
“It represents a fascinating opportunity for second-level students who are considering pursuing a career in law. For others, it offers a window into our legal and justice systems.”
In the coming months, judges of the Supreme Court will interact with students from second-level schools in Counties Mayo, Kildare and Dublin.
The schools chosen to participate were nominated by the NAPD.
If the pilot programme is successful, the Supreme Court hopes to open an application process in 2020 through which second level schools can apply to participate.
The participating schools are St Gerald's College, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Carndonagh Community School, Carndonagh, Co. Donegal, St Joseph's Secondary School, Rush, Co. Dublin and Coláiste Lorcáin, Castledermot, Athy, Co. Kildare.