The motion for the Grand Final of this year’s Mayo Schools’ Debating Competition – ‘THAT THIS HOUSE BELIEVES SOCIAL MEDIA IS DAMAGING IRELAND’S DEMOCRACY’ – will be debated by the very people at the coalface of the ever-changing world of communications and information technology.

Teams from Ballinrobe Community School, St Gerald’s College, Castlebar and Balla Secondary School and individual speakers representing Balla Secondary School, St Gerald’s College Castlebar, and Swinford’s Scoil Mhuire Agus Padraig have reached the Grand Final of the Mayo Schools’ Debating Competition, which returns to the Debating Chamber in Trinity College Dublin on Saturday 30 November.

The semi-finals took place on Saturday 9 November at GMIT Mayo Campus in Castlebar, with teams and individual speakers from Balla Secondary School, Ballina’s St Mary’s Secondary School and Muredach’s College, Ballinrobe Community School, Castlebar’s St Gerald’s College and Davitt College, Louisburgh’s Sancta Maria College and Swinford’s Scoil Mhuire Agus Padraig debating four motions:

Motion 1: ‘That this house would legalise euthanasia in Ireland’

Motion 2: ‘That this house would ban greyhound racing in Ireland’

Motion 3: ‘That this house still supports Ireland’s neutrality’

Motion 4: ‘That this house believes that Scotland should vote for independence’


Two teams from Ballinrobe Community School, one team from St Gerald’s College, Castlebar and one team from Balla Secondary School have reached the Grand Final, with individual speakers representing Balla Secondary School (1), St Gerald’s College Castlebar (2) and Swinford’s Scoil Mhuire Agus Padraig (1).

The Perpetual Trophy and medals will be presented to the ‘Winning School Team’ together with a medal for the ‘Best Individual Speaker’, which will be decided upon by our panel of adjudicators. Justice Mary Laffoy will once again chair the independent panel of adjudicators, including former TD Pat Rabbitte, Iarla Mongey, Director at Q4PR, and Padraic Lyons BL, former convenor and finalist of ‘The Irish Times Debate’.

Mayo Association Dublin would like to congratulate the teams and individual speaker finalists who will now go through the final motion on Saturday 30 November. And once again we are grateful to for sponsoring this year’s event, which will be hosted by the College Historical Society at TCD.

CLICK HERE for details of the teams and individual speakers taking part in the Grand Final which will start at 1.30pm sharp. Photographs with teams, individual speakers and judges will take place from 12.45pm onwards. 

Some snapshots from the Mayo Schools’ Debating Competition (2017-2018)…..

2017 Winning Team – Elijah and Simeon Burke from Castlebar – received perpetual trophy from Justice Mary Laffoy, Chair of Judging Panel.

2017 Best Indivdual Speaker -Tom Baynes, St Gerald’s College, Castlebar.

2018 Best Individual Speaker (Hazel O’Grady, Sancta Maria Louisburgh) and the Winning Team from St Mary’s Secondary School Ballina (Jennifer Burke and Laura Campion) pictured with Justice Mary Laffoy.

Independent Judging Panel 2017 & 2018 (l-r): Padraic Lyons BL, former convenor and finalist of ‘The Irish Times Debate’; Iarla Mongey, Director at Q4PR; Justice Mary Laffoy, (Chair of  Judging Panel); TD Pat Rabbitte; and Dr Carmel Heaney, Lecturer at GMIT Castlebar. Dept of Nursing, Health Sciences & Social Care at GMIT Mayo.