UCD and Blackhall students secure places in Irish Times Debate grand final

Final of Ireland’s longest-running third-level debating competition takes place next month

Students from UCD and the Solicitors’ Apprentice Debating Society of Ireland (Sadsi) have secured the last three places in next month’s grand final of the Irish Times Debate.

Bevin Armstrong of UCD Law Society claimed the top individual speaker's spot in Thursday evening's semi-final, while Conor White and Ross Merriman of Sadsi won the team competition.

The 62nd final of Ireland’s longest-running third-level debating competition is due to take place at UCC next month.

Speakers in the final will compete for the Demosthenes trophy for best team, and the Christina Murphy memorial trophy for best individual.


Contestants in the semi-final - which included teams and individual speakers from The Cadet School, King's Inns, UCD and UCC - debated the motion that "this house believes that RTÉ is not fit for purpose".

Speakers were assessed across a range of competencies including the reasoning used, examples and rebuttals offered, and how well arguments were made.

Judging panel chair Aislinn Carty, a former Irish Times Debate winner, praised what she said was an "excellent and thought-provoking" debate.

She said contributors had asked searching questions around what we should expect from our national broadcasters as citizens and young people.

The semi-final was chaired by Irish Times arts and culture editor Hugh Linehan.

The other teams which qualified for next month's grand final in earlier semi-finals include Sarah Jones and Owen O'Grady (UCD's Literary and Historical or L&H); Caomhín Hamill and Sinziana Stanciu ( Trinity College Dublin Independent team); Aisling Rooney and Martha McKinney Perry (TCD).

Individual speakers who are through to the final include Frances Aketch (UCD’s Law Society), Pierce Lyons (Sadsi) and Olcan McSparron (Queen’s University Belfast).

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent