Rediscovering conversation: mighty altogther
It had to be an Irish politician that finally suggested this! Â Ireland has been leading the European Union the past six months, including chairing and hosting the EU’s meetings. Â Micheal Ring tried a different approach to having all 27 ministers show up and read a speech.
Sports Minister Michael Ring might actually have made a difference. At the Council of Sports Ministers in Brussels, the Ringer pioneered a new approach to these meetings. The usual drill sees each of the 27 ministers reading a prepared script outlining their countryâ€™s viewpoint. Itâ€™s tedious stuff.
Minister of State Ring decided to change this. He announced to his fellow sports ministers: â€œNo scripts today! If you cannot speak without a script for thee minutes ye shouldnâ€™t be in the job youâ€™re in.â€
The politicians looked a little uncertain. Their civil servants looked horrified.
â€Let me tell you this,â€ he continued, â€œI came through Westport town council and the county council, Iâ€™m in the DÃ¡il and now Iâ€™m a Minister and we had more debates in the town council than weâ€™ve ever had here.â€ The ministers were discussing drug misuse in sport. They had brought their scripts, but after initial misgivings and a bit of cajoling from Michael, they decided to throw caution to the wind and have a proper discussion. Ring banished officials to the margins and let the ministers do the talking.
â€œIt was mighty. Mighty altogether,â€ he tells us. â€œI was told this was the most successful meeting in Brussels for 20 years. We had a lively exchange of views and a frank and open debate. The place was packed and the meeting went on for nearly four hours.â€