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EcoSpeak Competition returns to Mid Ulster

Mid Ulster District Council’s EcoSpeak schools’ competition returned yesterday, Monday 22 April following a five-year hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic and other pressures.

The public speaking competition, which took place at the Burnavon, Cookstown, was open to all P6/7 pupils across the district, and focused on current environmental issues.

The topic of this year’s competition was ‘Don’t mess up Mid Ulster’ with P6 and P7 pupils from 22 primary schools across Mid Ulster taking part.

Pupils took the opportunity to demonstrate how they would tackle the problem of litter in the Mid Ulster area, including prevention and managing litter; what different elements of litter are most common, and the wider environmental problems associated with this. Pupils explained how they would encourage others to litter less and be more environmentally conscious.

Presentations were delivered by 22 pupils over two heats and judged by representatives from Recyco, Regen, Dunbia, Moy Park, Biffa Waste and Natural World Products, all of which also provided sponsorship towards the event. Councillor Clement Cuthbertson, Chair of Environment Committee and Mark McAdoo, Assistant Director of Environmental Services at Mid Ulster District Council, also joined the judging panel for the final round of the competition.

Two finalists were selected from each of the two heats, they were; Ger Bradley from St Patrick’s PS Glen, Odhran Luiten from St Mary’s PS Greenlough, Bethany Sawyers from Augher Central PS and Grace Eagleson from Aughnacloy PS.

The overall winner of the competition was Bethany Sawyers from Augher Central PS. She was awarded the EcoSpeak trophy as well as a complimentary trip for her class to the Council’s OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory. All four finalists each received a £25 voucher.

Opening the event, Chair of the Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy, said:

I’m delighted the event has returned for 2024 having not previously taken place since 2019 due to Covid and other factors. It’s fantastic to see such a great turnout representing so many primary schools within the district. This year’s topic, ‘Don’t mess up Mid Ulster’ is a great and incredibly appropriate one, presenting lots of scope for imagination and creativity around tackling the problem of litter across Mid Ulster and further afield. You never know, we might even be able to make some of the innovative ideas presented here a reality for Mid Ulster District Council going forward!

Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Clement Cuthbertson, who presented each participant with a certificate and goody bag, added:

“It is fantastic to see the EcoSpeak competition return after a break since 2019. The standard of the presentations was excellent and all judges had a very difficult task selecting the finalists and overall winner. Congratulations to each of the participants for delivering such outstanding presentations and for acting as environmental ambassadors for Mid Ulster.

“Listening to the participants in today’s EcoSpeak competition gives us great encouragement – these young people are well aware of the challenges we face to protect our environment and they are already taking action every day to help keep Mid Ulster looking its best whilst protecting our wider environment at the same time. It is the responsibility of us all in Mid Ulster to get on board and do our part too.”

For more information on the EcoSpeak competition, and other Recycling initiatives, please contact the Council’s Recycling team at or 03000 132 132.

To view pics from the competition, see the Council's Facebook page.