UCD students win the 2017 Great Agri-Food Debate

On the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd February UCD played host to the second “Great-Agri Food Debate”. The debating competition, which took place in the Garret Fitzgerald Debating Chamber and was sponsored by Dawn Meats, drew teams of undergraduate students from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). Students debated the motion “Brexit will be good for the Irish Agri-Food Industry”

The debate saw students from the UCD team vigorously oppose the motion citing issues such as the potential reduction in agri-food exports and loss of the UK-Ireland trading relationship. Proposing the motion, WIT put forward their thoughts for the potential opportunities which Brexit represents, while arguing that Ireland will remain a special trading partner of the UK.

Moderator for the night was Justin McCarthy, Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal and the judging panel was made up of Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats; Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia and Adrian Crean, Managing Director, McDonald’s Ireland.

Following the heated debate, team UCD were crowned eventual winners with stage one UCD student Una Sinnott being awarded the prize for Best Speaker.

Commenting on the event, Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats said “The quality and delivery of the arguments is what we have come to expect from these high calibre WIT and UCD students. Their message that while Brexit represents a very significant challenge and that active management is the only sensible approach, the Irish agri-food industry’s cohesiveness, strength, innovation and sustainability credentials means it has a strong platform to take on this challenge and identify opportunities that may emerge during the process.”

The team proposing the motion was captained by WIT’s William Delaney (Stage 4, Agricultural Science) who was joined by Eva Hayes (Stage 4, Agricultural Science), Shane Burns (Stage 4, Agricultural Science), Eilish Lawlor (Stage 4, Agricultural Science), Simon Delaney (Stage 4, Agricultural Science) and Denise Ryan (Stage 4, Food Science and Innovation)

Opposing the motion were UCD’s Niall Walsh (Stage 4, Animal Science and team captain) aided by Patrick Hennessy (Stage 4, Food and Agribusiness Management), Una Sinnott (Stage 1, Agricultural Science), Anthony Jordan (Stage 4, Food and Agribusiness Management), Rachel Morris(Stage 4, Food and Agribusiness Management) and Ciara Cronin (Stage 3, Animal Science).