Public invited to air views at 'masked' debate


PEOPLE WILL be invited to air their views forcefully at an event in Temple Bar, Dublin next week, but are not to tell anyone who they are.

The “masked” debate, in which anyone can take part as long as they agree to wear a white mask concealing their facial features, takes place on Wednesday evening in Meeting House Square and is being organised by Exchange Dublin and the Temple Bar Cultural Trust.

Though billed as a debate, it will really be a discussion and exchange of views on the question Is this City fit for Purpose?, according to debate curator, Dylan Haskins. He expects about 400 people to join five unidentified guest speakers at the square from 6.30pm.

They will be provided with white masks before they enter the square, where all stewards and staff on duty will be masked for the two-hour event.

“I got the idea from Athenian democracy in the fifth century,” he said, “when the citizenry would gather in open spaces to discuss affairs of the day.”

Asked why people would be masked in the event on Wednesday, he said it was to reduce inhibitions.

“I do feel that politics and issues are very much peddled by politicians and this is a way for citizens to engage as citizens, not as representatives of any party or faction.”

Guest speakers, who he says will probably be recognised by people when they speak, will be asked to speak for 10 minutes each and contributions from the citizens will be invited by a masked facilitator throughout the evening.

Lorraine Maye, cultural projects manager at Temple Bar Cultural Trust, said the event would be a “bold new take on traditional debate formats and a timely opportunity for people to have their say about culture in Dublin”.

She said it would be taking place between August 16th and 23rd because the public square would be equipped with a marquee roof covering and rain would not affect the event.

The event is free and unticketed. More information is available at