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School children win new All-Ireland Concern Primary Debates contest
A DONEGAL village is celebrating after a team of primary school children won a new national debating contest that had over one hundred teams participating from around the country.
Fifth and sixth class pupils from Scoil Cholmcille in Kilmacrennan won the final of the inaugural All Ireland Concern Primary Debates, which is run by the humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide.
The champions successfully argued for the motion that “GM Crops are key to ending world hunger” in their word-clash with Scoil Bhride from Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny.
Concern Primary Debates was set up to encourage awareness of global issues through debates about serious world topics and to improve the level of debating skills amongst young people.
The Kilmacrennan debaters – Conn McGettigan, Sadie McGettigan, Orla Kearney and John Cannon – were praised by their school principal and debating mentor John Devenney, who said: “We are delighted with this victory for the school.
“There has been a strong record of participation in debating competitions here in recent years, which is thanks to our teachers who have been fostering this tradition.”
The hundreds of students who participated in the competition each get a medal for their efforts and the winning school is awarded with a large wooden wall map of the world while the runner up will receive an engraved plaque.
Teacher and debating mentor at Kilkenny’s Scoil Bhride, Margaret O'Neill, said: “I didn’t expect debating to be so much fun. It was a great experience.”
The Scoil Bhride team – Isabelle McCreery, Jennifer Doyle, Rían O’Hare, Eva O’Keeffe, Rian Coffey and Audrey Martin – were delighted with their achievement.
“I’m glad I did it. It really opened my eyes to the problems that those left behind in our world face today,” said Rían O’Hare.
“I really enjoyed debating with my amazing team. They are really fun to be around and I enjoyed working with them every day,” added their team captain Jenny Doyle.
The debates took part online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concern Worldwide congratulated and thanked all participating pupils, their parents, teachers and wider communities.
“We applaud all Concern Primary debaters and those who supported them,” said Concern’s Head of Active Citizenship, Michael Doorly.
“Debating teaches us how to put our points across in a respectful, dignified, yet convincing way.
“Our hope is that by taking part in Concern Primary Debates, students embark on a lifelong, social justice journey of speaking out for those left behind.”
Any school that wants to participate in the next Concern Primary Debates competition can email email@example.com.
For more information, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at 086 358 2886 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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