Trinity Student Wins Top Speaker Award at European Universities Debating Championships

Posted on: 16 August 2011

Trinity College Dublin student Catherine Murphy was awarded the top speaker prize at the European Universities Debating Championships competition held recently in Galway.  Catherine, who is studying French & History at TCD, competed with fellow student Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin who is studying English Literature & Classical Civilisation and was ranked the third best speaker at the competition.  The team represented the College’s Historical Society in the final, competing against Oxford, Cambridge and Durham, narrowly missing out on the top prize after a split decision by the adjudicators.   The teams debated the motion: ‘This house believes the State should pay reparations to women’. 

Eight teams made it to the debating final which was the culmination of a week-long championship that featured over 600 debaters from over 140 institutions spanning Europe, Qatar, Russia and Israel.  The Oxford A team of Ben Woolgar and Hugh Burns took the top prize in the competition while the Tel Aviv A team of Omer Nevor and Sella Nevo won the English as a Second Language Competition.  Throughout the course of the week, students battled it out by debating topics such as economic policy, international relations and philosophy.  The adjudicators selected the motions throughout the week and wording was not released to competitors until 15 minutes beforehand. 

Established in 1999, the European Universities Debating Championships is an annual debating tournament for teams from universities across Europe, although teams from the Middle East and central Asian institutions are eligible pending the formation of similar competitions in their regions.  Trinity College’s Historical Society is one of the most active debating societies in the College as well as being one of the oldest student societies in the world.   During term time weekly debates are held providing a forum for discussion of topical ideas.