You are here

As the dust settles

Well done to all for a fantastic night last Thursday at the Concern Debates final.

The Astra Hall was packed to capacity with debates fans from all over the country. Athlone Community College and Coláiste Chilliain brought with them hundreds of (very vocal) supporters. We were also delighted to see so many students and teachers from other schools who had taken part in the debates during the year.

Veteran debaters 

Shane Duane, MC for the night, guided us through the evening with all the confidence and ease of a former Concern Debates champion. He stood at the same spot four years previously as a member of the Gort Community School team, so he really knew how the teams were feeling. 

Our chairperson for the evening, Claire Byrne from Newstalk, also a previous Concern debater, did an excellent job. Her professional skills came to the fore as she refereed the lively open forum.

The stars

But the stars of the night were of course the debaters from Athlone Community College and Coláiste Chilliain. The motion for the final was: “As the dust settles, Haiti can look forward to a brighter and better future.” Both teams’ speeches were thought-provoking and inspiring. 

Coláiste Chillian used Haitian proverbs to bring their argument to life. As Eoin said, “a leaky roof may fool the sun but it cannot fool the rain.” Athlone, on the other hand, used the letters in Haiti to bring their points home. For instance, Michelle told us that the H in Haiti stands for hope. 


At the end of the night it was Athlone who carried the motion, completing their hat-trick of Concern Debates wins. Congratulations to them! 

Live tweets

For the first time ever in its 25 year history, highlights of the debates final were tweeted live to a global audience. So, for anyone who presumed Evanna was rudely texting her friends during the debate, this might explain things.

Brighter and better future?

So, as the dust settles at Concern Debates HQ, the Active Citizenship team can look forward to a brighter and better future…we certainly hope so. 

At least we can look forward to a slightly less hectic time as we plan for the school trips; organise the writing competition; hold focus groups to talk to teachers about next year’s debates; recruit more adjudicators and begin to plan for next year. Less hectic? Now that’s debateable!