An Chómhdháil & The Forum
Started by Fr Joseph Veale SJ in 1955, debating has always been an integral part of Gonzaga. Debating and rhetoric is something Gonzaga, and indeed Jesuit schools in general, are known for. In its early days, Gonzaga was renowned for its philosophy of encouraging students to question ideas and to think for themselves; debating, the art of argumentation, is at the heart of this. Many past pupils of The College have gone on to outstanding achievements in debating; there have been many past pupils who became auditor of the L&H, the Oxford Union and the first Irish-born President of the Cambridge Union and multiple auditors of the L&H in UCD. Relatively more recently there have been eight Past Pupil winners of the Irish Times competition since 2003.
Today The Forum (Junior Debating) and An Chómhdháil (Senior Debating) remain an integral part of Gonzaga life. In the last few years Gonzaga has had students in Leinster semi-finals and finals on both a junior and senior level. There also has been success in ‘Mace’ competitions. (The name comes from the format of Debating used: British Parliamentary Mace). Indeed Gonzaga hosted the Inaugural Gonzaga Mace in 2013 and the second in February 2015 (Convened by Philip Mulvey).