UCD students win individual and team prizes at Irish Times Debate

Posted February 26, 2018

  • 300 students entered the competition
  • UCD winners invited on debating tour of the United States

UCD law and social justice student Amy Crean has won the individual prize at the Irish Times Debate. Crean, representing UCD Literary and Historical Society, argued in favour of the motion “This House believes Ireland has failed its youth.”

The competition, now in its 58th year, is the oldest continuous intervarsity debating competition in Ireland. Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) hosted the final this year.

“We come out of … education and we don’t have a home anymore because we are being exported,” argued Crean, who celebrated her 22nd birthday on the day of the final.

“If we have learned anything from the conversation around the Eight (Amendment) it is that we can no longer export our problems.”

The team event was won by UCD students Aodhán Peelo and Cian Leahy, both members of the UCD Law Society. Peelo is a final year law and philosophy student while Leahy is in his final year of medicine.

“It is the only activity that people do that as soon as you give a speech all of your friends rally around in the most supportive way I have ever seen,” Peelo told the Irish Times.

“I just think it is a really nice opportunity to give a talk, to have a laugh, to put an idea across in a really nice kind of community.”

The judges of the debate were Irish Times editor Paul O’Neill; QUB Pro Vice-Chancellor for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Adrienne Scullion; Irish Times Trust governor Margaret Elliott; chair of communications at Carroll College in Montana in the U.S. Professor Brent Northrup; and Irish Times Debate winner 2016, Ross O’Mahony.

This was the fifth consecutive year UCD students had won at the Irish Times Debate. Aisling Tully and Dara Keenan claimed the team prize last year. In 2016, Clíodhna Ní Chéileachair, now a student fellow at Harvard Law School, won the individual prize. Eoin MacLachlan and William Courtney won the same prize in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

The Irish Times Debate was founded in 1960 to promote excellence in oratory and debating. It is open to student teams from third-level institutions across Ireland.

By: Jonny Baxter, digital journalist, UCD University Relations