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About The Irish Times Debate 2016

The Irish Times Debate is the pre-eminent debating competition for third level students in Ireland and has been since its inception

The 2001 Irish Times debate at UCD. Photograph:Cyril Byrne

The 2001 Irish Times debate at UCD. Photograph:Cyril Byrne


This year The Irish Times Debate partnered with Ireland 2016 to mark this special centenary year and all participants in the competition have debated motions that have given them the opportunity to engage with the ideologies, history and legacy that 1916 has bequeathed to Ireland.

Motions under debate included:

  • This house would leave the Irish language to fend for itself.
  • This house believes joining the EC in 1973 was a betrayal of the men of 1916
  • This house believes that nationalism is a force for good.
  • This house believes that the Good Friday Agreement left 1916 in its political wake.This house would pay GAA players
  • This house would wear the Easter Lily.
  • This house would build a permanent memorial in Dublin to British soldiers who fought and died in the Easter Rising.
  • This house believes that the values of the 1916 proclamation have only become more relevant

Convenor, Áine Hartigan, organised close to 300 competitors, who entered The Irish Times Debate this year and with friends, family and fellow students cheering them on that field has now been whittled down to the 12 people who will take part in the final in the Royal College of Surgeons.

The motion for debate for the final is that This house believes 2016 should be the last year we celebrate the Easter Rising.

The overall winners of the competition will claim the Demosthenes trophy for the best team and the Christina Murphy Memorial trophy for the best individual speaker.

The winners will also take part in a debating tour of the United States, hosted by Professor Brent Northup of Carroll College, Montana.