Queensley Odidi, Sadbh Boylan, Emma Connolly and Doireann Minford
A Dundalk school's debating team is going from strength to strength as they build on a tremendously successful 2019 on a national platform.
Last year saw the St. Vincent’s Debating team scoop two national titles. Under the tutelage of their coach, Victoria O’Hagan, the girls have gone on to secure places in the finals of a two exciting new competitions. St. Vincent’s has a strong tradition of equipping its students to become ambassadors for the spoken word and encourages all of their students to develop their voice, to stand up and to have their voices heard.
Emma Connolly, a fifth year student in St. Vincent’s Secondary has made her way to the national final of the Oireachtas TedEd Talks series. She is one of sixteen students who have been selected nationally to participate in a conference that will see her write, develop and deliver a Ted talk in the Round Room of the Mansion House on Tuesday 22 January 2019. The competition has been conceived of as a commemoration of one hundred years of women’s suffrage.
To mark the centenary, the Houses of the Oireachtas is hosting a programme of events that will highlight the history of the suffrage movement and its leaders in Ireland and the impact of wider voting rights. As well securing the right of women to vote, 1918 was also the year in which the first woman was elected to the British Parliament at Westminster.
Countess Markievicz, who represented a Dublin constituency, never took her seat at Westminster. Instead, she joined the revolutionary first Dáil, becoming the first female TD. Emma will blaze a trail for female public speakers as she makes her Oireachtas debut in January.
Queensley Odidi has secured her place in the final of the Soroptimist Public Speaking Competition in January 2018. Queensley impressed adjudicators audience members alike when she made her passionate speech on the importance of women being empowered as active citizens in public life.
Esteemed US Supreme Court judge, Ruth Baden Ginsberg, pointed out that ‘women belong in all places where decisions are being made, it shouldn’t be that women are the exception’. In addition to attaining her place in the final which takes place in Athlone, Queensley was awarded the Mary Barrett perpetual trophy for excellence in communication.
Following on from her national win in the Action Aid speech competition which saw her jet off to Brussells in June, Sadbh Boylan accompanied by Doireann Minford have developed a short video on the importance of women getting involved in politics.
To mark the centenary of women’s suffrage occurs on December 14th, a number of the videos will be screened in Dublin Castle and from those videos screened, the winner will be chosen.
The winning team and their teacher will join Ireland’s official delegation travelling to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to attend the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women from 11 to 13 March 2019.
There they will have an opportunity to attend the opening of the session, and a number of the debates, exhibitions and lectures in the extensive programme of events taking place during the session.