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Students debating world issues reach national Concern Primary Debates final

Press release27 May 2024
Niamh Kennedy of Sooey NS speaking at the Concern Primary Debates Semi-Final 2023-2024
Niamh Kennedy of Sooey NS Sligo speaking at the Concern Primary Debates Semi-Final 2023-2024

TWO school debating teams hope to become national champions after reaching the final of the Concern Primary Debates competition – which had over 250 schools participating this year.

Sixth class pupils from Killaloe Boys National School in Co. Clare and Emper National School in Co. Westmeath will travel to the Helix theatre in Glasnevin, Dublin on June 12 for the showdown.

They will debate the motion that ‘schools are the key to ending world poverty.’

Both finalists will receive trophies after the debate and will be brought on a tour of the Houses of the Oireachtas at a later date.

The competition is run by the humanitarian aid organisation Concern Worldwide in partnership with education support centres across the country and with funding from the Government’s overseas development agency Irish Aid.

The Concern Primary Debates programme was created 40 years ago to encourage further debate about global issues among young people.

“School debating teaches children so many positive skills and we are so proud of the hundreds of children who participated this year,” said Concern’s Primary Schools Programme Officer, Ruth Lynam.

“Debating gets students thinking and talking about global issues and gives them experiences and skills like critical thinking and public speaking that will benefit them through life.”

The Killaloe team are Sam Davern, Joshua Woulfe and Tomás O’Connor. The Emper team are Matthew Kiernan, Charlie Flanagan and Edward Kiernan. 

The runners-up from the semi-finals, Sooey National School, Co Sligo and Carrigen National School, Co. Kilkenny, will also attend the final and receive trophies for their achievements. 

Anyone who would like their school to take part in next year’s competition is asked to ring 01 417 7733 or email


For more information, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at email:


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