Castleknock College Union

1974-75 Debating Society

Senior, Intermediate & Junior

May 1, 1975
1974-75 Debating Society -


Patron: MR. R. WALSH

President: DENIS DOORLY               Vice-President: JOHN HENNESSY

Secretary: JAMES H. MURPHY

As new oratorical horizons stretched before the Senior Debating Society at the begining of this year, we paused for a moment to lament the loss of our most trusted and informative friend—the old Minute Book. Somehow the new volume, handsomely bound in imitation leather and equipped at great expense with 517 pages, is not quite the same. The undulating scrawl of this year's secretary does not lend itself to the general aura of literacy as did the copper plate of former years. But enough melancholia and down to the task in hand.

If I were a statistician I would record that this year 15% of the senior franchise spoke—15% of the 5th years and 17% of the 6th years. Of the 5th year total. I would record that 25% spoke twice. 10% spoke three times and a further 10% spoke four times. Of the 6th years, I would continue. 20% spoke twice. 10% three times, etc., etc.. ad infinitum. But. thankfully. I am not a statistician and consequently shall not bore you by recording such mundane, odious and dare I say it—mathematical details here in the "artistic" record. Many and varied were the activities of the Society over the year. With an idle swing of one 'clenched* fist we dismissed politicians, the Gaeltacht as a leech on the soft flesh of Kathleen Ni Houlihan and while pounding with the left hook, a jury of orators managed to impeach, convict and condemn the hapless secretary, while he remained in blissful ignorance.

After three home debates to warm us up—which often felt like giving a drowned man the kiss of life—we launched ourselves into the suspense filled "nail chewing" world of inter-school debate with a visit to St. Wolstan's Convent. Celbridge. The success of this debate and the pros and cons of the motor car was marred only when our bus (a Jekyll and Hyde affair) went on the rampage and nearly ripped up the main street in Celbridge while wildly reversing from the ruin of what minutes earlier had been a two-storey house. This traumatic experience was followed, not by a prosecution from the Kildare County Council, but by the reappearance of four of last year's stars—Michael Collins. Liam Cosgrave, Michael Connolly and Basil Boyle—who met a quartet of this year's debating fans—Denis Doorly. Conor Gearty. Peter Flood and James Murphy — in a friendly (!!) contest of their profound and profane statements on the motion. "This house is ashamed . . . "Next on the agenda was the annual debate with Mount Anville which was its usual success and then, with a logic which only Castleknock could muster, we held the inaugural debate. At this, our Patron, Mr. Walsh, imported Fr. Martin Ralferty up from the Junior School to act as chairman. Denis Doorly read a paper on "Human Identity in the Urban Environment". This was replied to by Mr. C. Gearty and by two eminent guest speakers. Mr. Ruarai Quinn and Mr. Richard Stringer.

The Gold Medal Debate was held two months late. As I put it in the official notice, "anyone who has the least pretension of being an intellectual Patrician will surely be there", and judging by the response. 3rd year must be the most pretentious year in the school. The debate itself, on the motion "Life is Wonderful", was a tense affair with each speaker carefully examining his chair before he sat down, in case it had been scurrilously "booby trapped" by some over zealous opponent. The debate outcome, however, in which the adjudicator. Mr. Frank O'Donnell. left Conor Gearty in possession of the much coveted metallic accolade (i.e. the medal), was undisputed. Less so was the award of the Silver Medal by Mr. Walsh to the President. Mr. Doorly. for "the most consistent speaker of the year" — though there is no truth in the rumour that the President always gets the Silver Medal—it just happens that way.

It now only remains for me to thank all those involved in the Society this year, especially (and at this point everyone leaves the cinema) Denis Doorly for his wit and wisdom. John Hennessy. the able Vice-President, for his Latin. Richard McDonnell, the most enthusiastic 5th Year speaker, for his tape recorder; Conor Gearty, Eamonn Kennan, Peter Flood, and all the unnamed myriads who made our success possible, not forgetting of course Mr. R. Walsh, a pool of energy and support, whose continued presence sustains us all.



Patron: MR. M. CURRID

President: STEPHEN COX           Secretary: MICHAEL DOORLY

This year, as in last year's debating season, seven debates were held under the Society's auspices.

The opening debate was held in October, the motion being that "Fourth Years should have a room". Unfortunately there was no vote, even though I am quite sure that the motion would have been unanimously carried. The most prominent speakers were Tim Collins. Redmond Walsh and Jim Lyons, speaking for the first time at our Society. Our next motion. "That Ireland's natural resources should be nationalized", was in my opinion, a little too ambitious, particularly in that many of the speakers were However. John Kelly. Julian Clarke and Tom Shipsey made quite an impression. The motion was defeated. We then held a preparatory debate for our tussle with Mount Anville. the motion being "That the motor car is the curse of the century". Most prominent speakers were Redmond and David Walsh. Tim Collins. Hugo McNestry and Tom Hickey. We then decided that Tim Collins. Stephen Cox. Tom Hickey and Redmond Walsh should represent us in the debate with Mount Anville. The motion was "That science is the enemy of mankind". Castleknock spoke for the motion and Mount Anville against and we won— thanks to two very fine speeches from Tim Collins and Tom Hickey. On our return to home ground we held a debate on the subject "That women should be given equal opportunity in Society". The motion was carried unanimously— thanks to the floor's prejudice.

The motion for our Gold Medal Debate was "That money is the root of all evil", and it was carried. David Walsh, who spoke very well, won the gold, and Tom Hickey was awarded the silver medal. Mr. O'Riordan from Allied Irish Banks adjudicated. Finally we would like to extend our thanks to Mr. Currid. without whom the Society could not have been successful, and to Mr. O'Riordan who made the Gold Medal Debate such a pleasant occasion.




The following were elected as class representatives to the Committee: Willy O'Gorman, Mark McGinley, Michael Fuller, Patrick McCann, Gabriel Scallon and Paul McGovern. Because of the Committee's enthusiasm the Society enjoyed a successful debating year in 1974-75. A wide cross-section of Junior School participated in the debates, resulting in many oratorical discoveries. Apart from the internal debates, the Junior English Debating Society had lively verbal confrontations with both St. WoIstan's School. Celbridge. and the Dominican Convent. Cabra.

The debating standard achieved in the Gold Medal Debate was most gratifying. This debate determined the best speaker in Junior School in the current year. The motion was "That the best things in life are free". Patrick McCann. Mark McGinley. David Scally. Don Hickey. Stephen Gunne and Peter Carroll spoke the motion. The opposition included Paul McGovern. Paul Lorigan. Des Higgins. Willy O'Gorman. Tom Maher. John Cooney and Bernard Halpenny. The Rev. D. Sullivan. CM, very kindly and most competently adjudicated the debate. Patrick McCann. by his lively introduction, set the high standard of the debate at which the succeeding speakers were obliged to aim. Mark McGinley was awarded third place for the humorous way in which he delivered his speech. Mark emphasized that such life-giving elements as the sun and water are free. Bernard Halpenny was awarded a very strong second place for the mature content of his speech. Bernard stated that education is one of the most precious things in life, it gives us an appreciation of what is good and true in life, and for this one must pay the price of school fees. The adjudicator noted that although Bernard was the last speaker in a marathon debate, nonetheless he was able to keep the attention and interest of the audience. Des Higgins was awarded first place and thus received the Gold Medal for Debating: his speech contained just the right balance between authoritative content and relaxed delivery. Des stated that in order to repair ones health one must have wealth, medical costs being what they are. He emphasized how important a role the commodity of oil plays in our lives from transport to central heating, and that the quadrupling of the price of oil in recent years is far from free. The adjudicator concluded that the first-year speakers, although they were unplaced, showed considerable dictating promise.

In conclusion the Patron would like to thank all those who co-operated with the Society throughout the year, especially the librarians. Paul Murray and Billy Meagher.