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League to knockout stage

More than 120 secondary schools across Ireland took part in this year’s league phase of the Concern school debates.

Presentation_Warrenmount versus High School Rathgar during the 2013 league phase of the Concern debates. 16 teams

Sixteen of the top teams progressed to the knockout stage. To get there, they debated subjects ranging from US politics, poverty and AIDS to the United Nations and population growth


During the last week of February these teams debated the motion: “It is time to end foreign aid to India.”  At the quarter finals, which take place from 18 to 22 March, eight qualifying teams will debate whether “Governments should stop supporting the biofuels industry.”

Innovative debating

Debates fever is catching in many schools. Evelyn O’Connor in Mount Saint Michael in Claremorris wrote this blog about how her team use virtual collaboration to prepare for their debates online.


Pobailscoil Inbhear Sceine in Kenmare has begun regularly debating topical issues across the entire school. Their recently hosted debate on the horsemeat scandal got us thinking about a possible motion for next year on the globalisation of food.

Concern Debates 2012 finalists, Scoil Mhuire in Trim, have introduced a debates module for their transition year students. Junior cycle students have also adopted school debating.

Spread the word

We would love to hear from you: would you like to write a guest blog about your experience of the debates? Could you send us photos of your team in action? Or, join our tweeting on the debates. Follow us on Twitter @concerndebates.

Thank you!

Congratulations on an excellent job to all the students participating in the league phase. Adjudicators, spectators and the Concern team are frequently inspired and impressed by the standard of debating and the level of knowledge at the debates. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to all of the debates mentors and adjudicators for their dedication and commitment. We couldn’t do it without you!