While debating has a long history in the College, with the original Students’ Debating Society being organised in 1972, it had fallen into decline in recent years. In 2008 however, Jarlath’s teachers Ms Brighid Cannon and Ms Eilis Flanagan helped organise a group of leaving cert students into a small Literary and Debating Society. In 2009, this group was expanded to include students from third year up.
In 2008, three teams of two were entered into the Denny’s West of Ireland Debating Competition run by NUIG, and after several rounds over several months managed to secure a team in the Connaught Finals. The team that year finished as runners up, an admirable first attempt that it made sure the Jarlath’s name was noticed in competition circles.
That initial foray into untested territory was further expanded upon and grown in the past year, with the Jarlath’s team entering an additional competition; the Alan Kerrins Mace Competition. The Denny’s competition ending up with a Jarlath’s team (Eoin Lynskey and Ross Loughlin) and an individual speaker (Eanna Mac Donnacha) making it to the final; this was a steady improvement which bodes well for the future. The Alan Kerrins competition saw one of our teams finish runners up, and Eanna Mac Donnacha chosen as best speaker of the day. Two debating club members (Ross Loughlin and Eoin Lynskey) were also invited to debating trials for the Irish National School’s Debating Team which took place in Trinity College Dublin in mid-December.
This year promises to be another exciting year for the Lit and Deb society, with continued expansion into younger years and strong teams of senior students