TCD Bram Stoker Club wins 'Irish Times' Debate in Queen's

Eoin O'Liathain (TCD Phil) opens the Irish Times Debate. photograph: pacemaker

Eoin O'Liathain (TCD Phil) opens the Irish Times Debate. photograph: pacemaker

Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 00:00

The TCD Bram Stoker Club last night won The Irish Times Debate held in the Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast.

The individual winner was Kate Brady from the TCD Historical Society, the only woman among last night’s 12 team and individual debaters.

In front of a lively audience that included lawyers, students, former competitors and parents the contestants debated “That this house would emigrate”.

“Traditional Ireland is dead and gone it’s with Michael O’Leary in the grave,” said Eoin O’Liathain of the TCD Phil starting the debate and setting the lively tone of the night.

“Emigration has changed. Going abroad does not mean you have to abandon Ireland,” he argued. Opposing Cormac McGuinness of TCD Hist said all emigration – an Irish solution to an Irish problem” – would do was “prolong the life of a broken system” in Ireland. The two-member team debaters from these societies and from UCD LH and from the TCD Bram Stoker Club battled each other keenly.

In the end Liam Brophy and John Engle, opposing the motion and arguing that the inhibiting “stranglehold” of emigration must be broken prevailed.

The loudest acclaim was for Adam Kydd who from Queen’s University Belfast’s Literary and Scientific Society was the only student representing a Northern Ireland college. He competed in the individual section against Rob McCarthy of UCD LH and Rian Derrig and Kate Brady, both of TCD Hist, with Brady impressing the judges most.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke of the Supreme Court, a former debate finalist, chaired the debate and the presiding adjudicator was Mr Justice Donnell Deeny, of the Belfast High Court, who was a team winner in 1971 and 1972 – and competed against Mr Justice Clarke. He was joined on the adjudicating panel by Margaret Elliott, a solicitor and governor of The Irish Times Trust; Prof Brent Northup, chairman of communications at Carroll College in Montana; SDLP Assembly member Conall McDevitt, Billy McCrory QC, a team winner in 1973, Jeremy Kinsella, an individual winner in 2009 and convenor last year, and Paddy Smyth of The Irish Times.

This was the 54th Irish Times Debate final, the first one was held in 1960.