Faolán Ó Cathmhaoil, a fifth-year student from Coláiste Oiriall in Co Monaghan, has been named as the overall winner of the PDST Young Economist of the Year award.

Faolán's entry was selected out of 1,000 entries from over 200 schools nationwide.

He won the overall prize for his research project titled "The Economic Sustainability of Index-Funds for Equity Markets". The project examined the recent rise in the popularity of passive index funds as investment vehicles in equity markets and whether they might play a role in the next financial crisis. 

Kevin Denny, UCD Associate Professor of Economics, part of the judging panel, described the student's application of economic theory as "remarkable" and compared his project to an "exceptional piece of undergraduate work".  

Two other special interest prizes were also awarded. 

The Central Bank award for projects with a focus on monetary policy or the Irish economy was won by Giulia Baratta of St Andrew's College, Dublin for her project titled "Pandemics and the Economy: How can Central Banks Respond?" 

Meanwhile, the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service award, for projects with a focus on government economic policy, was presented to Aoife Walshe, Meadhbh Quinn, Ella Seery and Elizabeth Hutchinson, from Mount Sackville Secondary School in Dublin. 

Their project was titled "The Impact of the use of Supermarket Vouchers on the Environment and our Economy".

In its 7th year, the Young Economist of the Year is a national award for the promotion and understanding of economics for second-level students. 

Speaking as part of the online award ceremony Central Bank Governor said the bank's involvement with the young economist of the year aims to foster and encourage students’ interest in economics

"We were extremely impressed with this year's submissions which researched a variety of highly relevant subjects ranging from climate change, and homelessness to gender and direct provision," Gabriel Makhlouf said.

The Young Economist of the Year is an initiative of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

It is supported by the Irish Economics Association (IEA), the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES), the Central Bank, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Economics and Social Research Institute (ESRI) the BSTAI, Laois Education Centre and economics and education departments in Maynooth University, NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick.