Students from Athlone Community College maintained their reputation as formidable Irish language debaters when they took the junior title at the Regional Final of Gael Linn’s debating competition, Comórtas an Phiarsaigh Gael Linn 2019.
The event took place in The Dock Arts Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday (Wednesday).
Comórtas an Phiarsaigh is a national debating competition organised annually by Gael Linn for second level schools nationwide, with funding from Foras na Gaeilge. Over 150 schools have taken part in competition since the beginning of this school year.
The Athlone Community College team of Emma Ní Fhlannabhra (Captaen), Emily Ní Shíocháin and Ryan Ó Raifeartaigh were up against strong competition from Mayo schools St Brendan’s College, Belmullet, and Achill Community College.
They debated the motion ‘Is méanar dóibh siúd atá ina gcónaí faoin tuath!’ (or ‘It’s well for those who live in the countryside!’) and many strong arguments were put forward on both sides.
The consensus among the adjudicators, however, was that the young Westmeath orators were marginally ahead of the Mayo teams on the night, and they were declared winners, to the delight of teacher Avril Ní Óráin!
Later on that evening, St Gerald’s College from Castlebar overcame Coláiste na Carraige, South Donegal, and Carrick on Shannon Community School to emerge victorious in the senior section of the competition.
Recognising the high standard of debating achieved by all the participants, Gael Linn presented awards to each speaker on the night. The winners, Athlone Community College and St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, now progress to the All Ireland final of the competition on March 27.
Three further Regional Finals will take place over the coming weeks, at which their opposition will be selected.
Comórtas an Phiarsaigh organiser, Tomás Ó Cadhla, comments: “The Gael Linn debates are very popular with schools because they give students the opportunity to research topics and to present their case in public.
“The competition cultivates a growing network of young Irish speakers. We are greatly indebted to teachers for their enthusiastic support for the debating competition.”