Hist-orians go fourth

Debaters from five third-level institutions covered over 80 years of Irish history in less than two hours as Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin and Niall Sherry led the
College Historical Society to its fourth consecutive title at this year’s Irish Times debate.
The debate, which took place on Friday, 19th February at Dublin City University’s Helix, was centered around the motion “This House Believes that Ireland Owes a Debt of Gratitude to Fianna Fáil 1926-2010.”
Mhaolieoin opened for the opposition by arguing that it is Fianna Fáil that owes the Irish people a debt of gratitude for trusting the party with their governance. “We gave them the opportunity to build a nation,” she said. “Eighty-four years later, we’re left asking one of the most difficult questions ever posed to the Irish nation: Was it for this?”
Sherry took Mhaolieoin’s argument a step further, saying, “[Fianna Fáil] owes us for the decades of power that they have squandered.”
Griffith College’s Sean O’Quigley won the night’s individual competition for the opposition, pointing out the damage Fianna Fáil has made with the sentiment that it is owed a debt of gratitude.
Ni Mhaoileoin and Sherry took home the Demosthenes Trophy, while O’Quigley received the Christina Murphy Memorial Trophy. All three will represent Ireland on a debating tour of the best debating colleges in the United States.
The debate was chaired by former 1998 Nobel Peace Laureate and First Minister of Northern Ireland, Lord David Trimble. Trimble, a former debater, told the audience stories of his own experiences with formal debate in college at Queen’s University Belfast.
Irish Times Editor Geraldine Kennedy presided over the adjudicating team, which also included Professor Brent Northrup and former winners Charles Lysaght, Leo Mulrooney and Michael Moriarty.