Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

St Joseph’s students at the Top Table with Nolan

Eleven year 14 Sociology students from St Joseph’s High School in Crossmaglen took part in BBC One’s ‘Top Table’ current affairs programme, which was aired on Wednesday last.

The show, where young people face down politicians in an audience debate hosted by Stephen Nolan,, discussed a range of topics, tackling issues like whether Northern Ireland should follow Canada’s lead in legalising certain drugs or if MMA and other dangerous sports should be banned.  

Teacher Niamh O’Connell, who accompanied the students to BBC studios in Belfast, congratulated the A-level students for “holding their own” in the in depth debates.  

“The students were quite nervous at the thought of being on TV but they really held their own when they posed points to Stephen Nolan. None of this was rehearsed and Nolan was not afraid to really question them on their views,”  said Mrs O’Connell.

According to the proud teacher, Nolan was particularly impressed with St Joseph’s Head Boy, Barry McAllister, and asked him personally for a post-show interview. 


Speaking about the experience for the pupils, Mrs O’Connell added,

“The students thought Stephen was a great TV presenter and really knew how to get discussion going. Off Camera, he was very lovely to them, getting pictures and inviting them back again. They also got to spend time chatting to civil rights activist and panellist on the show, Eamon McCann, who said he was he was pleased to see South Armagh being represented so well!”

 “It was a great day, and a great way for our students to see the behind the scenes of how TV is made, giving them new career aspirations for the future, both in Politics, presenting and TV production. The show is a brilliant platform for young people to have their say and I feel it has really inspired them.”


Participating students

 Erin Maguire

Jennifer Evans

 Barry McAlister 

Nikita McNamee

Nicole Donnelly

Aisling Gollogly

 Eirinn McArdle 

Brea McLoughlin

Ella McVeigh

Aaron Trimble

Shannon Grant

Louise Loughran