The junior debating team from St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, are the talk of the town following their win at the recent regional final of Comórtas an Phiarsaigh, the annual competition organized by Gael Linn for second-level schools nationwide. The event took place in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, last week.
The St Gerald’s students: Cillín Ó'Lochnáinn, Seaghan Ó'Ceallaigh and Oisín De Brún- proposed the motion "Tá an iomarca béime ar acadúlacht i meánscoileanna na hÉireann!" ( Too much emphasis is placed on academic ability in Ireland’s secondary schools! )in a closely fought debate with teams from Athlone Community College and Merlin College, Galway, they greatly impressed the adjudicators with their well thought out and passionate speeches, and were declared winners on the night to the delight of their supporters. The young Castlebar orators can be proud in the knowledge that they have qualified for the All-Ireland final from more than 150 schools which entered the competition at the beginning of the schoolyear due to take place on March 15. Teacher Caitlín Ní Níolláin, who has guided the team to victory in their various heats since November last, is justifiably proud of her students’ marvellous achievement.
The Gael Linn debating competitions have been an important element in Irish education for some 50 years and are a major stimulus in the promotion of excellence in spoken Irish. Organised annually for second-level schools nationwide, Comórtas an Phiarsaigh attracted a high level of entry again this year, with schools from Malin Head to Mizen Head participating.