Nearly 60 pupils between the ages of 12 and 15 from Coláiste Iognáid, St Endas, The Presentation College Athenry, Taylors Hill and St Gerald’s, Castlebar sharpened their rhetoric and took to the battlefield in an epic ten hour debating marathon on Saturday.
The Coláiste Iognáid Junior Mace included five gruelling debates, fuelled by the best pizza Galway could supply, until eight pupils remained to engage each other in the Grand Final in the school library.
This Grand Final, chaired by TD Colm Keaveney, saw pupils representing St Endas, The Presentation College Athenry, and Coláiste Iognáid debating under the scrutiny of a distinguished panel of adjudicators from Dublin and NUI Galway headed by MEP Jim Higgins. The motion debated was that 'Home owners be allowed to defend their property from invaders with lethal force in all circumstances'.
Coláiste Iognáid pupils Jack Counihan and Ross Gorey were eventually crowned Champion team. Top speaker of the day was Coláiste Iognáid representative Kate Duggan. St Enda’s Cian Siggins won top speaker prize in the Final. Coláiste Iognáid’s Adam Burke took top First Year speaker and Philip Buckley from the same school took top Second Year speaker prize.
All the schools present saw at least one pupil from their ranks invited down to the Matheson National Junior Mace Grand Final in Dublin next month.
Deputy Keaveney presented awards and congratulated participants and organisers in taking part in an activity central to democracy and the traditions of free speech.
The event was organised by the Coláiste Iognáid Debating Society with logistics committee Eoghan Finn, Frank O’Neill and Andrew Forde chaired by the society’s auditor Paddy Higgins.