Limerick University makes its debut win in debate final

Wed, Feb 12, 1997, 00:00

THE University of Limerick last night won the final of The Irish Times Debate for the first time in the university's history.

In a lively debate on the motion: That This House Would Support Public Funding of Political Parties, Mr Seamus Doran and Mr Padraic O Halloran of the UL Debating Union took the Demosthenes Trophy for best team, beating stiff opposition from more established societies in UCD, UCG and Trinity College Dublin.

The debate was chaired by Fianna Fail party leader, Mr Bertie Ahern TD.

The runners-up in the team competition were Ms Gillian Sinnott and Ms Bairbre O'Neill of the UCD Literary and Historical Society.

The final, hosted by the TCD Historical Society, was convened by Mr Kerida Naidoo BL.

Last night saw the inauguration of the Christina Murphy Trophy for best individual speaker, famed in honour of Ms Christina Murphy, former duty editor of The Irish Times and editor of Education & Living, who died last year. The trophy was won by Mr Matthew McCabe of the Solicitors' Apprentices' Debating Society of Ireland.

Mr Rossa Fanning, of UCD Law Society was nominated as runner-up in the individual speakers competition.

Mr Eugene McCague, chairman of the DIT and a former winner of The Irish Times Debate, paid tribute to Ms Murphy.

"As the powerhouse behind The Irish Times debating competition for nearly a quarter of a century she provided encouragement, excitement, enthusiasm, advice, criticism, controversy and free drink in equal measure," he said.

As part of their prize, the winners of this year's debate will travel to the US next month to participate in a debating tour of colleges, sponsored by Aer Lingus and The Irish Times.

Last night's competitors were Ms Gillian Sinnott and Ms Bairbre O'Neill of the UCD Literary and Historical Society; Ms Jackie O'Hara and Mr Adrian Langan of the TCD - Historical Society; Mr Ian Walsh and Mr Rossa Fanning of the UCD Law Society; Mr Seamus Doran and Mr Padraic O Halloran of the UL Debating Union; Mr Fergal Crehan and Ms Mary Cosgrove of the UCG Literary & Debating Society; Mr Andrew Beck of the TCD Law Society; and Mr Matthew McCabe of the Solictors' Apprentices' Debating Society of Ireland.

The adjudicators were Ms Sile Sheehy (presiding), Head of Education Services, The Irish Times; Prof Gary Holbrook, Metropolitan State College, Denver, Colorado; Mr Conor Bowman, barrister, songwriter and former individual winner of The Irish Times Debate; Ms Geraldine Kennedy, Political Correspondent, The Irish Times; and Mr David Keane, barrister and former team winner of The Irish Times Debate.