Well done to the debating teams from Loreto Secondary School, Bray, Co. Wicklow and the Cistercian College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, winners of the All-Ireland Final of Comórtas an Phiarsaigh Gael Linn 2010 ! The debates were held in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, on Thursday last, 25 March 2010. This competition has been organized nationally by Gael Linn since 1960 and over 150 teams took part this year.
Guest chairperson on the night, Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre, conducted the proceedings with great aplomb. A previous winner of the competition himself in 1980 with Coláiste Eoin, Dublin, he told the large gathering present that participating in the competition all those years ago had, in no small measure, helped him in his career to date.
In the junior section of the competition, the young orators spoke knowledgeably on the topic ‘Tá déagóirí na linne seo ina sclábhaithe ag an idirlíon!’ ( Teenagers are slaves to the Internet these days!) There were cheers of delight from their supporters when it was announced that Loreto Secondary School, Bray, Co. Wicklow were the 2010 All-Ireland Champions ! They won out over teams from the Presentation Secondary School, Thurles, Co. Tipperary; Dunshaughlin Community School, Co. Meath and the Christian Brothers Secondary School, Midleton, Co. Cork. Teacher Damhnait Uí Leidhin helped and directed the team on their road to victory since November last.
The Cistercian College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary won the senior section of the competition against teams from Presentation College, Cork; St. Michael’s Loreto, Navan, Co. Meath and Alexandra College, Miltown, Dublin. They debated the topical motion: ‘Tá cúis ghearáin ag oibrithe na hearnála poiblí!’ (Public sector workers have reason to complain!) and many interesting arguments were put forward by each speaker. The Roscrea team mentor and teacher, Nicola Ní Bhraonáin, was justifiably proud of her students. While a student in the Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny, she herself captained her team to victory in the 1999 final of the competition!
The winning teams were each presented with the Gael Linn perpetual trophy and a cheque for €1,000, while prizes of €250 each were awarded to the other teams who had participated. As part of the prize also, the winners in the junior section, Loreto Secondary School, Bray have been invited to take part in ‘Ri Chéile’, a debating festival run by Comunn na Gaidhlig, Scotland and Gael Linn with funding from the organization, Colmcille. This festival brings together young debaters from both Ireland and Scotland for a few days fun when they will get the chance to explore the similarities between their respective languages. The 2010 festival will take place in Scotland in the autumn.
Congratulating the winners on their great achievement, Gael Linn CEO Antoine Ó Coileáin said:
‘While we applaud the growth in all-Irish schooling in the past twenty years, Gael Linn believes that a high standard of Irish in mainstream schools is vital to the revival effort. Irish is the common inheritance of all and it is for this reason that Gael Linn seeks to support the use Irish in the wider community. We are particularly proud of the fact that the Gael Linn Debates this year celebrate their golden jubilee and that they continue to develop students’ language skills year after year.’
Many well-known personalities have taken part in the Gael Linn debates over the past 50 years – including the recently appointed European Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, politicians Alan Dukes, Minister Mary Hanafin, T.D. and Senator Ronan Mullen; broadcasters/journalists Marian Finucane, Mary Kennedy, Evanne Ní Chuilinn and Harry McGee; former GAA president, Seosamh Mac Donncha, Judge Mary Laffoy and funny man, Dara Ó Briain – and there is no doubt that their debating skills helped in many ways to further their respective careers!
Foireann shinsearach An Choláiste Cistéirseach, Ros Cré, Co. Thiobraid Árann, curaidh Chomórtas Díospóireachta An Phiarsaigh Gael Linn 2010, ag glacadh leis an gcorn ó aoichathaoirleach na hoíche (ó chlé): Eiméad Ó Riain, Mícheál Ó Criomhthainn (captaen na foirne), Fiach Mac Conghail, Stiúrthóir Amharclann na Mainistreach, agus Caoimhín Ó Riain.
Foireann shóisearach Mheánscoil Loreto, Bré, Co. Chill Mhantáin (ó chlé): Emily Ní Fhearghaile, Eilís Ní Shúilleabháin agus Becky Ní Liatháin (captaen na foirne) in éineacht lena múinteoir, Damhnait Uí Leidhin.