UCD team win Irish Times debating trophy


A team from University College Dublin has won the Irish Times debate final 2003. Mr Leo Mulrooney and Mr Colm Coyne, representing the L&H society, lifted the Demosthenes trophy last night in a final dominated by UCD and Trinity College Dublin. Trinity's Ms Alison McIntyre - the only female among the 12 speakers - prevented a clean sweep for UCD by taking the Christina Murphy Memorial Trophy for best individual.

More than 120 teams entered the 2003 competition, but the four teams and four individuals who made it to the final - held in the Edmund Burke theatre in Trinity - were divided evenly between the two big Dublin universities. The final was also notable for an unprecedented coincidence which saw all the UCD speakers drawn on the proposition side, and all the TCD speakers opposing.

In a debate chaired by the leader of the Labour Party, Mr Pat Rabbitte, the winning team proposed the motion "that this house believes history will judge Ahern's Ireland harshly".

Ms McIntyre opposed the motion.The winners will travel to the US for a debating tour including visits to Seattle, Chicago and Dallas.

Runners-up in the team competition, representing the TCD Phil, were Mr Colm Greene and and Mr Niall Murphy. Mr Greene was also the individual runner-up.

Mr Rabbitte praised the high quality of a "very well researched" debate, while regretting that there was "a little less humour than one might have anticipated". The decision required lengthy consideration from a panel of adjudicators chaired by Irish Times editor, Ms Geraldine Kennedy.

She was joined by the chairman of the Irish Times Trust, Prof David McConnell; Prof Brent Northup of Carroll College, Montana; barrister Mr Rossa Fanning; and Mr Adrian Langan of the Chambers of Commerce Ireland.