Belfast Telegraph

Dunloy pupils delighted to have a private audience with Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets pupils from St Joseph’s Primary School, Dunloy in the Senate Chamber at Parliament Buildings
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets pupils from St Joseph’s Primary School, Dunloy in the Senate Chamber at Parliament Buildings
One schoolboy tries to get a better view
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Pupils from a Co Antrim primary school picked the perfect day for their educational visit to Stormont - as they received a private audience with the Prime Minister.

The children from St Joseph's PS, Dunloy were delighted to find themselves in the right place at the right time as Boris Johnson arrived in Belfast.

"It was the opportunity of a lifetime for them," said school vice-principal Lisa McGrath, who travelled with the pupils on their annual trip to Stormont.

"We had 46 year seven pupils on the visit. It's something we have been doing every year as part of the Northern Ireland Assembly's education programme.

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One schoolboy tries to get a better view

"But for the past two or three years it has been difficult to keep the pupils enthused as we've gone to see the work of an MLA and been met by empty corridors. We booked the trip before Christmas and knew there was a chance that Stormont might have a bit more action for us, but things started to get a little more exciting last week.

"The children were all watching the news and started to take a real interest in what might be happening when they got there."

But it wasn't until the pupils arrived yesterday that they realised what they would witness.

Ms McGrath said: "We were aware that the Prime Minister was coming but we weren't sure if we would be able to stay long enough to see him.

"In the end, though, we got a lot more than just seeing him walk in and out."

The pupils stayed to see the political action up close - and then got invited to meet Mr Johnson himself.

"We were told we could wait around for 45 minutes to watch what was going on, but it was well worth it when the pupils were invited in to meet Mr Johnson himself," Ms McGrath said.

"He took the time to speak to them, asking them about their school and who their favourite authors were. It was a real privilege for them to be treated so well and we thank him for taking the time.

"Then he put them on the spot and asked them if they had any advice for him on what he should do as Prime Minister."

Ms McGrath added: "I was delighted when they showed they had been watching the news over the last few days. One of the pupils told him he should spend more money on fixing the health service and getting trolleys out of the corridors.

"Another asked him to get the government to help people in Australia after the fires over the past week or two.

"It certainly turned into a day the pupils will never forget and it'll give them plenty to write about when putting their projects together. It's a day they'll never forget and it'll be hard to top that when we bring another group back next year!"

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