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Passion and conviction at debates final

What a night! The Concern Debates National Final that took place on 13 May Wednesday night in UCD attracted a full house.

Getting ready

Competing teams, Sandford Park and Gort Community School, spent the afternoon rehearsing in the Astra Hall, while Concern staff busied themselves hanging posters, polishing trophies and putting everything in place.

The countdown

By 6.15pm a colourful gaggle of audience members was gathering in the foyer – schools, parents, teachers and adjudicators from across the country and the capital city. They were in attendance and eager for the debate to commence.

Blue versus green

By 6.55pm the audience was getting restless. On the left were the Gort supporters in blue with flags and banners: “Go Gort! Go!” The Sandford Park crowd, a sea of green on the right was equally rowdy!

Dunne, Tom Dunne

At 7pm the house was called to order and to deafening applause the two teams took their places. MC Eimear O’Brien introduced us to the chairperson for the event, Tom Dunne of Newstalk. The debate was about to start.

It begins

Sandford Park Captain, Myles McCormick, started off by stating that the only moral argument to be made about aid cuts is that they are unavoidable, but that the Irish government had made a choice to cut aid.

Gort’s Dominique Twomey countered that the Irish government has a legal and moral obligation to the people of Ireland. She proposed that trade, not aid, is the answer.

Passion and conviction

Each team member in their own turn attacked and defended the motion and argued convincingly for their own side. All brought passion, conviction and emotion to what was a fascinating and very topical issue.

After strong summations on both sides, it was time for the adjudicating panel to withdraw and make the all-important decision.

Decision time

After the open forum, the panel returned and the chief delivered his feedback and the result: the motion was carried and Sandford Park School were announced as Concern Debates Champions 2009.

Congratulations Sandford Park! Watch this space for news of their overseas trip.

We will return in September, to debate another batch of controversial development issues. Until then!