David Irving, the highly controversial British historian who spent three years in an Austrian prison under Holocaust Denial Legislation, may be speaking at NUI, Galway’s Literary and Debating Society in March.
‘The Lit and Deb’, as the society is popularly known, has been in correspondence with Mr Irving and he has indicated that he wants to visit NUIG and speak in a debate about his theories.
However, given the nature of Mr Irving’s views, the society will be putting the decision of whether or not to accept him as their guest, to a vote of society members, preceded by an open debate on Thursday January 22.
The debate will be entitled That This House Would Allow David Irving to Speak at This House and will be held in the Kirwan Theatre at 7pm. John Kelleher, the Irish Film Classification Officer, will speak in support of Mr Irving’s right to speak. Derek Doyle, former auditor of UCC’s Philosophical Society, will oppose.
The Lit and Deb’s chief aim is “the provision of a forum for free speech in NUI Galway, where students can address issues of topical and perennial importance without fear of persecution”.
Society auditor Dan Colley said: “There are few people who have tested the boundaries of the right to free speech more than David Irving. This debate is a referendum, of sorts, to see where our members think those boundaries of free speech in university lie.”