In this year’s novice debate, which took place on 10 February, we had Clonakilty and Clare Macra – who had already fought off strong competition to reach the final.

Clonakilty Macra with Macra president Elaine Houlihan.

Clonakilty Macra proposed the motion of “The Ireland of today is not youth-friendly”.

Following a lively debate, Clare Macra successfully opposed the motion, crowning the banner county the all-Ireland novice debating winners.

Clonakilty didn’t go home empty handed, however, with Natasha Sutton winning the best debater award for her performance in the Novice Debate.

Tension was high in the room as the Senior teams took to the stage. At this year’s senior debating final, we had Awbeg and Callan Macra debating it out to see who would take home the prestigious title.

Awbeg Macra with Macra president Elaine Houlihan.

Awbeg Macra proposed the motion of “Seanad Eireann should be abolished”, while Callan argued in opposing the motion.

Following a fiery debate, the crowd were unable to answer who could have taken home the title, leaving the judges with an unenviable task.

The motion fell, crowning Callan Macra the all-Ireland senior debating winners, with Claire Bambrick taking home the Best Debater award.

Elaine Houlihan, Macra president, and Claire Bambrick.

All-Ireland novice debating winners Clare Macra.

Tom Long presenting Natasha Sutton the Best Debater award.

Well done to all teams who took part in this year’s debating competitions.

The time, commitment and dedication involved in this competition is not something that should be underestimated. It was clear that teams put hours into the research and practising.

Public speaking and impromptu debating competitions are still yet to come this year – stay tuned.