Kings' Inns, Solicitors of Ireland take honours
Speakers from the King's Inns, Dublin, and the Solicitors of Ireland debating society took the honours at the 40th Irish Times Debate final held in the National University of Galway last night.
The winner of the debate was the team from Kings Inns with Mr Michael Deasy and Mr Ronan Mullen.
The winner of the individual competition was Ms Louise Rouse from the Solicitors of Ireland debating society.
The team runner-up was the team from TCD Philosophic Society.
Mr Liam Herrick of University College Cork's Philosophical Society was the individual runner up.
The motion for the evening was "That this house would call a halt to the Tribunals of Inquiry", sparked intense debate.
Proposing the motion, the first speaker, Mr Barry Ryan of NUI Galway's Literary and Debating society said that the public was not happy with the current system of tribunals.
There was a commonly held belief that they were not achieving what they were supposed to achieve.
Mr Ian Walsh of King's Inns said that in the current climate it was necessary to have some mechanism of inquiry when matters of public concern arose and said (with all due respect to the Chairman for the evening, Mr Pat Rabbitte TD) that tribunals were superior to the main present alternative, the Dail subcommittee.
Mr Richard Gibbs of University College Dublin's Literary and Historical society noted that while there were flaws in the system of tribunals, they allowed public access and transparency and the alternatives would in no way be better than the status quo.
The presiding adjudicator was a barrister and former team winner, Mr Damien Crawford. Mr Crawford was joined on the adjudication panel by The Irish Times Education Editor, Mr Sean Flynn; Prof John Marshall of NUI Galway; former individual prize-winner Prof Brian Havel of DePaul University Chicago; and Prof Brent Northup of Carroll College, Montana. Mr Michael Deasy described tribunals as a "shambling attempt to wish the rules of law out of existence".
He was countered by Mr Walsh who said that tribunals had been a "vital ingredient to the evolution of public life".
Ms Aisling Currid likened current tribunals to a "never-ending pop concert". "We aren't getting anything out of it; but we are being entertained," she said.