Posted 01 October 2009
Big hitters debate Lisbon Treaty at UCD
Just days before the Irish public cast their votes in the second Lisbon Treaty referendum, the UCD Law Society hosted a major debate on the topic at University College Dublin.
“There is a palpable feeling among students that the outcome of the Lisbon Treaty referendum will have a real and immediate impact on their lives and the lives of their families,” said Conor O’Hanlon, Auditor of the UCD Law Society.
“We wanted to play our part. To promote a full and frank debate on the issues involved. To help inform students on what the outcome of Lisbon may actually mean for them and their country, before they cast their vote.”
The motion for the debate was: "That this house would vote yes"
Speakers in support of the motion were:
- Dr Garret FitzGerald, former Taoiseach
- Eibhlin Byrne, former Lord Mayor of Dublin
- Brendan Butler, IBEC
- Ross Maguire, Generation YES
- Deirdre de Burca, Green Party
- Pat Cox, President of the International European Movement
Speakers in opposition to the motion were:
- Declan Ganley, Libertas campaigner and businessman
- Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin
- Patricia McKenna, former MEP
- Michael O'Brien, Socialist Party
- Padraig Mannion, Socialist Workers' Party
- Brian Hickey, Coír Spokesman
Each of the panelists had 7 minutes to present their arguments to the 1,000 plus student audience at O’Reilly Hall Belfield. Speakers took questions and points of information from the audience throughout the debate.
In the end, after almost 2 hours of debate, the crowd voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion.
Former Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern TD, who chaired the debate on 29 September 2009, stayed neutral throughout ending the session by actively encouraging everyone in the audience to ‘cast their vote’ in the upcoming referendum.
Pictured far right: At the UCD Law Society debate on the motion "That this house would vote Yes" were former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, who chaired the meeting, and the Auditor of the UCD Law Society, Conor O'Hanlon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill, Irish Times