Mayo student wins all-island story-writing competition with pioneering idea

Tom McCarthy with Minister Phil Hogan, and PJ Quinn, principal of Errew National School.

Tom McCarthy with Minister Phil Hogan, and PJ Quinn, principal of Errew National School.

A county Mayo student was the All-Ireland winner in the all-island story writing competition Tell the Future.

Tom McCarthy, a pupil of Errew National School, who came first in the senior section of this prestigious competition, was presented with his prize by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan.

Part of a pan-European environmental initiative called the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE ) and supported in Ireland by Calor Gas, the Tell The Future story-writing competition was launched in April by science teacher and TV personality, Aoibhinn Ni Shúilleabháin.

Attracting more than 2,500 innovative entries nationwide, Tell The Future encouraged primary school pupils to write or email in their ideas on how to power Ireland into the future in a sustainable way. Through the written word, drawings or diagrams, pupils expressed how they would power our homes, hospitals, factories and schools if they were in charge of everything.

Tom’s entry, entitled “Sole Energy”, focused on powering Ireland by storing up energy in a device placed on the sole of your shoe, with kids sharing out 50 per cent of the energy they generate to their school, and 50 per cent to their home.

The Tell The Future judging panel comprised senior management personnel from Government state agency Science Foundation Ireland; leading youth organisation, Foróige; and the Northern Ireland-based Rural Development Council.

Speaking at the presentation of the Tell The Future prizes in Dublin’s Custom House, CEO of Calor Gas Michael Kossack said: “Foresight, creativity and civic engagement by our younger generation is a prerequisite for ensuring that decades from now, Ireland is an adaptable and sustainable country in its energy usage. Tell The Future has captured the imagination of thousands of primary school pupils spread across every county in Ireland, and has illustrated the enthusiasm that young people have for safeguarding their future and that of their environment.”

A Tell The Future competition will be launched this September for secondary school students. Further information on the competition will be available on


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