1942-43 Debating Society
President.-Rev. M. Carbery, C.M.
Vice-President.-Mr. D. O'Hegarty Secretary.-Mr. J. Cooney.
Committee: Mr. H. O'Hagan, Mr. J. Halpenny, Mr. E. McLaughlin, Mr. T. Fitzgerald.
Sunday, 18th October.—At the first meeting of the Society, the above-named officers were elected.
As USUAL the chief event of the year was the debate for the President's Medal and the Brady Centenary Prize. Being the last of our meetings, it was held on Saturday, 12th June, The President of the College, Very- Rev. Fr. Meagher, CM, kindly consented to act as adjudicator, a post for which, as Fr. Carbery pointed out in his introductory address, he was eminently qualified. Fr. Kehoe and Fr. Carbery assisted the adjudicator.
The motion was : "That the Introduction of machinery has done more Harm than Good".
Mr. Cooney opened the debate in his usual convincing manner. He based his speech upon the fact that the benefits conferred by machinery were small when compared with the evils accruing from the Industrial Revolution. Unemployment, the unhappy relations existing between worker and master, the flight from the land in Ireland, the Godlessness and materialism of the modern world—all these disasters must be attributed to machinery.
Mr. A. McGing, who opened the Debate for the opposition, immediately strikes one as a very clear thinker. He pointed out that we must move with the times, and certainly machinery had brought about progress. He denied that machinery was responsible for Paganism, because Paganism had existed before machinery. Thanks to the influence of machinery, statistics prove the modern man to be healthier than his ancestors. Indeed medical science has been greatly helped on by machinery.
Mr. B. O'Donnell classified the evils of war under two headings, War and Unemployment. He went on to prove that machinery caused war and he described its horrid consequences. He furthermore pointed out the miseries of unemployment. This speaker impressed all his listeners by his sincerity. He gave to all the impression that the evils of machinery were to him very real and very terrible.
Mr. E. Boylan, who spoke quietly but confidently, stated that better living conditions had become general through the introduction of machinery. The mothers of to-day no longer had to slave as in the old days. He quoted the homely example of the bath being used for washing instead of the awkward old fashioned bath tub.
Mr. E. Smyth, who spoke in his own inimitable fashion. Indeed, according to many he was the highlight of the evening. He illustrated his argument by using the motor car as a typical example of machinery. Great numbers of people are every year killed by it, and it makes us lazy into the bargain.
Mr. D. Shanahan gave a comprehensive definition of machinery and then went on to say that owing to the machine medical science had greatly advanced. Time must march on and it was only right that machinery keep pace with it.
Mr. J. Bourke said that machinery was taking the place of the slaves of olden days, since man uses machinery' to the same end, and has therefore an enervating influence upon him. As his colleagues had pointed out it also created unemployment. Mr. Bourke, by this speech, created the favourable impression that he had thoroughly mastered his subject.
Mr. S. Smith was another who obviously took his subject very seriously. He showed that without machinery we would be all in a bad way indeed. He seized upon Mr. E. Smyth's point about the motor car, and stated that the roads would be very bad unless mended by machinery.
Mr. R. Murphy in a vigorous, aggressive speech upheld the motion. His arguments were simple but carried with them a strong sense of conviction. He declared that machinery had really conferred no benefits upon mankind. Where could the modern world point to painting such as Renaissance Italy had produced ? He attacked Mr. Shanahan's statement that machinery had advanced the progress of medical science, and in the boldest terms he proved how machinery was the cause of all the diseases which medical science was called upon to cure.
Mr. R. Daly disagreed with Mr. E. Smyth's point about the disadvantages of the motor car. He then advanced several points to show the advantages of machinery.
Mr. D. O'Hegarty proved his case with a typical example of the detriment wrought by machinery. There was a factory in the north which employed sixty men, but which, were machinery introduced into it, could only find work for eight. This, he said, was a pretty conclusive proof.
Mr. McGing and Mr. Cooney summed up for their respective sides.
Fr. Meagher then addressed the meeting pointing out the advantages of a Debating Society. He expressed his pleasure at the high standard of speaking. Sir R. Murphy he declared, was the winner of the medal with Messrs. J. Cooney and A. McGing outstanding.
Tuesday, 27th October.—The Society discussed at this meeting the motion "That Democracy is a more suitable form of Government than Dictatorship". The chief speakers for the motion were Messrs. D. O'Hegarty, T. Fitzgerald, E. Boylan, B. O'Donnell. They stated that a proof of the efficacy of Democracy was the length of its existence, and that people living in a Democratic country possessed liberty unlike the serfs of a Dictatorship. Also in Democracy a bad Government can be changed at will. Against the motion: Messrs. J. Cooney, T. McLaughlin, R. Murphy, E. McLaughlin upheld Dictatorship. Their main points were : that Dictatorship was a much more efficient form of Government than a Democracy; that there is really more liberty under a Dictator than under a Democratic government; that a strong central authority like Dictatorship produced the best results as a form of Government.
Result : the motion was defeated by 26 votes to 22.
Tuesday, 10th November.—At the next meeting the subject under discussion was "That the Border should be Abolished". Messrs. J. Cribben, H. O'Donoghue, A. McGing, R. Daly supported the motion. The following were their chief points: that the abolishment of the Border would better trading relations between Ireland and England ; that the Gaelicization of Ireland would be better achieved by doing away with the Border; that Northerners and Southerners were of one blood and should not be separated. That Northern Ireland would be too strong for Eire economically; that a small minority in the north would always make trouble if the Border were abolished; that Customs officials etc., would be left destitute—these were the main points of Messrs. J. Kinneen, J. Bourke, E. Smyth, M. Cullen against the motion.
Result : the motion was upheld by 23 votes for to 19 against.
Tuesday, 22nd November.—The Society held a meeting to debate the motion : "That the Cinema is detrimental to the growth of Irish Culture". For the motion spoke Messrs. T. McLaughlin, E. Boylan, S. Smith, W. Quirke, whose chief arguments were: that the cinema of to-day is anti-religious and therefore opposed to our culture; that the films are a great barrier to the propagation of the Irish language; that Irish people modelled their life on that portrayed by the cinema. In opposition to the motion Messrs. B. O'Donnell, N. Collins, N. Crowley, D. Dunne, advanced the following arguments: that because the Government allows films to be exhibited they cannot be harmful to our culture; that the Cinema broadens our outlook on life; that we can adjust our standards by a comparison with those of other peoples.
Result : the motion was defeated by 25 votes to 19 votes.
Thursday, 4th February.—The Society discussed as an Impromptu Debate the subject: "That the Dole should be abolished". In support of the motion Messrs. T. McLaughlin, R. Murphy, A. McGing, J. Brennan raised the following points: that the Dole encouraged laziness, and fostered idleness; that often those on the Dole were young people who should be working; that the Dole tended to create a poor civic spirit. Against the motion the following arguments: that the Dole greatly helped those families who had no reserve laid by ; that its existence was sufficient proof of its efficacy; that it was recognised by the Church—were advanced by Messrs. J. Kinneen, R. Daly, S. Smith, E. Smyth.
Result : the motion was defeated by 17 votes to 15.
Tuesday, 20th February.—At the next meeting, the Society debated the motion: "That the Censorship of Literature be abolished in Eire". Messrs. D. J. Kilgallen, S. O'Connor, J. Cooney brought forward the following arguments in favour of the motion: that a literary censorship tends to become a political trick: that the Church did not see fit to establish such a censorship; that coercive methods such as a literary- censorship were never effective. In opposition to the motion Messrs. J. Cribben, J. Bourke, N. Collins, E. Smyth advanced these points : that both political and moral anarchy would result were there not a censorship; that Christian ideals needed the protection of a censorship; that the Church supported the idea.
Result: the motion was defeated by 25 votes to 16.
Tuesday, 6th April.—The Society next discussed the subject : " That the Jews are a menace to the welfare of the Community". Messrs. B. O'Donnell, R. Murphy, E. Boylan, X. Crowley spoke in favour of the motion. Their main points were: that the Jews are warmongers; that they are determined to subjugate the Aryan races; that they had monopolised Finance to support their own selfish interests. That they were a hard-working, industrious people; that they contributed economically to the welfare of every country in which they had money invested; that Christian charity demands that all men be treated equally—these were the principal arguments of Messrs. A. McGing, T. McLaughlin, M. Harte, R. Daly in opposition to the motion.
Result : the motion was defeated by 17 votes against it to 16 votes in its favour.