St Gerald’s take regional debating title in Gael Linn competition

Posted in Connect on March 13, 2019.

Students from St Gerald’s College, Castlebar maintained their reputation as formidable Irish language debaters recently when they took the senior title at the Regional Final of Gael Linn’s debating competition, Comórtas an Phiarsaigh Gael Linn 2019.

The event took place in The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick on Shannon, County Leitrim on Wednesday, March 6 last. Comórtas an Phiarsaigh is a national debating competition organised annually by Gael Linn for second level schools nationwide, with funding from Foras na Gaeilge. Over 150 schools have taken part in competition since the beginning of this schoolyear.

The St Gerald’s team of Cillian Ó Lochnáin (captain), Oisín de Brún and Dónal Seoige were up against strong competition from fellow county debaters, St Brendan’s College, Belmullet, and teams from Coláiste na Carraige,
Carrick, Donegal and Carrick-on-Shannon Community School. The students had a chance to air their views on the topical motion, ‘Tá níos mó dochar ná maitheas ag baint le dul chun cinn na teicneolaíochta’ (or the advancement of technology causes more harm than good), and unsurprisingly, there were plenty of allusions to social media throughout! All the teams were very well prepared and choosing the winners posed a challenge for the adjudicators, but in the end, it was the Castlebar debaters who emerged victorious. Teacher Fiona Nic Giolla Phóil has mentored the team through the various heats to this regional success.

Earlier on in the evening, junior teams from Mayo schools, again from St Brendan’s College, Belmullet, along with Coláiste Pobail Acla, had gone head to head in the junior section of the competition with Athlone Community
College. They debated the motion ‘Is méanar dóibh siúd atá ina gcónaí faoin tuath’ (or that ‘It’s well for those who live in the countryside’), and many strong arguments were put forward on both sides. The consensus among the adjudicators, however, was that the young Westmeath orators were marginally ahead of the Mayo teams on the night. Recognising the high standard of debating achieved by all the participants, Gael Linn presented awards to each speaker on the night.

The winners, Athlone Community College and St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, now progress to the All Ireland Final of the competition on March 27 next, where the St Gerald’s team hope to emulate the success of their senior team in last year’s final.


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