Les Joutes Oratoires (French Debating) had a tremendous run of form under Mr Dingle throughout 2020/21. The team – composed of Patrick Hickey (Captain), Joe Prendergast, Cian Morgan, and Daniel Kelly – made it all the way to this year’s Final for the first time since 1999. In what became a local derby, they faced a very strong Sandford Park team debating the motion that “Civic Service should be essential in Ireland for the youth”. The Gonzaga team both received and offered the maximum amount of 6 Points Of Information throughout the debate.
Patrick addressed the fact that other countries with this service often exploit the youth, and that such a service would be better designed for older people. Joe followed this up by very effectively illustrating the inextricable link that exists between civic service and the possible negative effects of nationalism. Cian discussed how the very objectives of such a service, for instance social cohesion, are omnipresent in Irish society and that such a state intervention is not required. Finally, Daniel portrayed how making such a beneficial activity compulsory removes the very idea behind service, whether that be civic or not. Once we are forced to do something, we no longer feel a desire to continue participating in such an activity in our spare time, as we associate it with a lack of liberty.
In a remarkably tight bout that very much could have gone either way, the Sandford Park team eventually emerged victorious. In consolation, Patrick received the tournament’s ‘Best Speaker’ award. The team would like to express its appreciation for all the support and encouragement they received throughout the competition from both staff and students alike. In particular, they would like to thank Mr Dingle for the sacrifices he made to commit so much time and effort towards achieving this result.