DESPITE tough opposition, Newbridge College qualified through to the next round of a national debating competition in Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise on 13 November.
The second-level students were taking part in Comórtas An Phiarsaigh, an annual national debating competition organised by Gael Linn and funded by Foras na Gaeilge. The competition aims to promote the use of Irish in schools and among young people.
First up to the podium on the day were the junior teams from St Fergal’s College, Rathdowney and Newbridge College, who advocated that the Rose of Tralee competition should be done away with (‘Ba cheart deireadh a chur le comórtas ‘Rós Thrá Lí’) while the students of Holy Family Secondary School, Newbridge and hosts Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, disagreed. Each speaker had three minutes in which to argue his or her case, and many valid points were made on both sides. In the end, however, it was the Rathdowney and Newbridge College teams who won over the adjudicators in their favour.
Later on that afternoon, the topical motion ‘Is Parthas turasóireachta í Éire an lae inniu!’ (‘The Ireland of today is a tourist paradise’) tested the knowledge and resourcefulness of the senior teams from the same schools. Once again, the young orators from Newbridge College were confident in their delivery and were deemed winners on the night, along with their peers from Scoil Chríost Rí.
The successful Kildare teams now look forward to the challenge of round two, due to take place before the Christmas holidays. Teachers Clodagh Conaire and Sarah Ní Mhaoilmhiagh prepared the teams for the debates, and they were very pleased with their pupils’ performances. Competition co-ordinator, Jamie Ó Tuama, thanked all the participants, along with the large number of supporters who had travelled to the event and said: “Gael Linn has always had as a priority that pupils acquire good levels of competence in spoken Irish and that they have a positive attitude towards Irish. We are very pleased with the level of entries in Comórtas an Phiarsaigh this year, and with the high standard of debating skills shown by students so far.”