Trinity and Oxford go head-to-head in student Brexit debate

Posted on: 07 December 2018

Trinity and Oxford contend that ‘This House would unite Ireland post-Brexit’ in Student Economic Review Debate

On November 7th 2018, the Student Economic Review (SER) co-hosted a debate with the College Historical Society (The Hist) on the motion ‘This House would unite Ireland post-Brexit’. The event was part of an SER tradition of annual debates between Trinity and either Oxford or Cambridge.

The debate was a lively and engaging affair. The Trinity team, represented by team captain Mark Finn, Caoimhin Hamill and Ryan Grunwell, proposed the motion by arguing that a hard Brexit changed the economic conditions in Northern Ireland to such an extent that they necessitate a union with the Republic of Ireland to stop economic collapse. The Oxford team, represented by team captain Imogen Edwards-Lawrence, Justin Graham and Xavier Redmond, countered this argument by questioning the possibility that a hard Brexit is certain to occur. The teams were extremely well matched, and it was exciting to watch the debate unfold. Speakers gave engaging rebuttal and counter-rebuttal throughout the debate.

The debate was chaired by Professor Gail McElroy, Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy. When the judging panel retired to judge the debate, she introduced four extremely well-spoken floor speeches on the motion given by Sophie Furlong Tighe, Nicole O’Sullivan, Harry Hogan and Hugh Murphy. A vote on the motion by the attendees of the debate revealed strong support for the proposition of the motion.

Upon re-entering the debating chamber, the chair of the judging panel Dr Alan de Bromhead, economic historian at Queen’s University Belfast, commended both teams of speakers and announced that Oxford had narrowly won the debate. He praised the successful communication of economic issues during the course of the debate and acknowledged the support he received from the other members of the judging panel: UCD academics Professor Imelda Maher, Dr Johan Elkink and Emer Hunt and Ronan MacGiolla Rua, former auditor of The Hist.

Another SER debate featuring Trinity versus Yale will be held in Hilary Term 2019.

Trinity and Oxford go head-to-head in student Brexit debate
Junior Sophister economics and philosophy student Ryan Grunwell delivers his speech for the Trinity team


About the Student Economic Review

Founded in 1987, the Student Economic Review is one of the oldest undergraduate journals in the world. With a reputation for academic excellence, the Review provides a platform to showcase the exceptional work being undertaken by Trinity’s Economics students who seek to explore and challenge conventional economic wisdom and to apply economic theories in new ways and to new areas.

Each year the SER Committee is chosen from the third-year economics undergraduates by academics in the Department of Economics. These students are responsible for coordinating all matters relating to the Review from sponsorship and managing financial matters through to reviewing, selecting and editing the essays and producing and launching the publication.

While the core of the SER for many years was the Review itself its scope has widened to include debates, first against UCD, then Oxford and Cambridge and more recently Harvard and Yale.  These debates are now almost as much a part of the SER as the journal itself. Played to packed audiences in the GMB, the debates are held jointly with either The Hist or The Phil.

In more recent years the SER Committee has also organised workshops, which have included lectures by Nobel Prize winners in economics with the 2015 Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton speaking at an event co-hosted with The Hist and the 2002 Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith speaking at an event co-hosted with the Trinity Economic Forum.

The work of the Student Economic Review would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors, all Trinity Economics graduates, including chief sponsor for over ten years, Harry Hartford; recent lead sponsor Ciaran O’Neill of Endeavor Investments, Conor Killeen and Kyran McStay of Key Capital, sponsors of the Harvard/Yale debates and the sponsor of the Oxbridge debates, Vinay Nair.

For additional information see the SER website.



Media Contact:

Sally-Anne Fisher, Head of Communications | | +353 1 896 3606