There were great celebrations in Chapel Street last week as students of Coláiste Rís celebrated their school’s victory in the final of Comórtas Díospóireachta Uí Chadhain.
The local debaters defeated two schools from Connemara and their fierce rivals, Coláiste Eoin from Dublin to take Corn Gael Linn back to Dundalk for the second time in three years.
Mícheál and Neasán Mac Suibhne were joined by Bernard Ó Thoirealaigh, all past pupils of Scoil Rois, Carrickmacross, and opposed the motion ‘go bhfuil gearghá le páirtí polaitiúil nua i bPoblacht na hÉireann’ – that there is an urgent need for a new political party in the Republic of Ireland.
While the Dundalk debaters agreed with the opposition in recognising the many problems in the Irish political system they strenuously refuted the proposal that a new political party was the remedy to all our ills. This is ‘the quick fix’ that seldom if ever worked.
They argued for a complete overhaul of the political system in Ireland, where there might be a greater emphasis on consensus politics rather than the partisan approach so often seen on the floor of Dáil Éireann; an approach that generates much talk but little effective action.
The standard of debating was a credit to all of the students involved, according to guest chairperson Mary Hanafin, the former Fianna Fáil Minister.
Pádraig Ó hAdhmaill, príomhoide na scoile, was delighted by his students’ performance and with this latest victory.
“What is particularly pleasing was the attitude displayed by the lads during the campaign,” said Pádraig. “They are tremendous role models for everyone in the school and prove that for those who aim high anything is possible.”
Team mentor, Seán Ó Coigligh, was emphatic in his praise for his charges. “These young men fully deserved their wonderful victory for all the hard work invested over the last four months. They are worthy bearers of the great debating tradition for which Coláiste Rís is renowned around the country.
To have taken on and defeated the Gaeltacht schools from Connemara and our friends from Coláiste Eoin in an All-Ireland final was a wonderful achievement, one of which we are all very proud.”
This latest national title means that all five of the Mac Suibhne siblings have won national debating titles with Coláiste Rís. Éanna won in 2004, Aonghus in 2006, Caoimhe in 2012 and Mícheál and Neasán have now completed the set. This feat is unequalled anywhere in the country.