Competition stages

The Concern Debates competition runs for several months and is completed over a number of stages. Every year, more than 100 schools argue their motions in the hope of being our next debating champions.

Engaging young people with social justice issues is empowering for the teacher and the learner and brings a real sense of energy to the classroom and to the school environment.

Sorcha Mellon - Teacher

Victory for Bagenalstown and Lisburn schools

The Presentation De La Salle Bagenalstown debates team were declared victors following a head-to-head with Bailieborough Community School in the 2021 All Ireland Concern Debates Cup final.

The Friends’ School Lisburn debates team were declared victors following a head-to-head with Ardscoil Mhuire, Limerick in the 2021 All Ireland Concern Debates Shield final.

Both finals took place over zoom on April 28th and 29th. You can watch them on the Concern YouTube channel. Past participants of the contest include Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, RTÉ broadcaster Claire Byrne and Virgin Media presenter Karen Koster.

Watch the Debates Shield Final 2021 here 

Watch the Debates Cup Final 2021 here 

Winners of Concern Debates Cup Final, 2021: Presentation De La Salle in Bagenalstown, Carlow
Stephanie Doyle, Katie Doyle, Stanislav Ustinov, Dylan O Neill and Coach, Leon Power of Presentation De La Salle in Bagenalstown, Carlow won the Concern Debates Cup 2021. Photo: Concern Worldwide
School Lisburn Debating Team, winners of Concern Debates Shield Final 2021
Holly Thompson, Eden Wilson, Alice Francey, Beth Eccles of the Friends’ School Lisburn debating team who won the Concern Debates Shield final 2021. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Stages explained

Here are the several stages of the Concern Debates.


Registration for the Concern Debates usually begins before schools close for the summer holidays and continues into early September. Please note that completing the registration form does not automatically guarantee a place on the programme. A Concern Debates staff member will be in touch to let you know if your application is successful. Then your Debates journey can begin!

League Phase

Knockout Stage

Quarter Finals

Semi Finals

National Finals

Debates Cup Final 2021

The Debates Cup Finalists 2021 argued about UK Cuts to Overseas Aid.

Debates Shield Final 2021

The 2021 Shield Finalists argued whether the SDGs are beyond humanity’s reach. 

Debates Final 2019

The 2019 finalists argued whether "China in Africa is more monster than messiah".

Concern Staff Christina at the Concern Debate Finals. Photo: Ruth Medjber / Concern Worldwide.

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