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12 February 2007

Former Irish president to Chair Irish Times Debate

-- Mary Robinson to preside over debate on Irish neutrality The former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, is set to chair the final of this year's Irish Times Debate, the country's largest and most prestigious debating competition. Mrs Robinson is currently based in New York but has agreed to fly into Dublin in advance of the final, which takes place in Trinity College, Dublin on Saturday 17, February. The motion for the final is: "This house believes that a neutral Ireland cannot fulfil its global responsibilities in the 21st century." A former finalist of the The Irish Debate, Mrs Robinson is currently chair of Realising Rights, a US lobby group established to promote ethical globalisation. She is also a former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Twelve third level students have qualified for this final of this year's debating competition, which was the largest in the 48 year history of the event. The students are from University College Dublin, King's Inns and Trinity College, Dublin. The final consists of four teams of two speakers and four individual speakers. One team and one individual will then be selected as overall winners by the adjudication panel, which will be chaired by the editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy. The winners of the debate will then represent Ireland on a three-week debating tour of the United States. More than 148 teams from 18 third-level institutions entered the event this year, according to Michael Moriarty, the convener of the Irish Times Debate, 2006-2007. Moriarty, a former winner of the competition, said that a number of teams had entered from colleges in the North this year. This is the first time that this had happened in a number of decades, he said. "There were over 40 people adjudicating the various rounds of the competition this year, most of whom are former winners or former finalists of the competition," said Moriarty. First run in 1958, the Irish Times Debate is the premier debating competition on the island. Former winners include members of the judiciary such as Adrian Hardiman and Kevin O'Higgins and former Attorney General Dermot Gleeson. Media personalities such as Derek Davis, Marian Finucane and Dara O'Briain have also won the competition. In addition to Ms Kennedy, this year's final will be judged by Professor Brent Northup of Carroll College in the US; Professor David McConnell, a Trinity College academic and a former winner of the competition; Dr Elizabeth Barrett, a former winner; and Ian Kehoe, journalist and former winner. The event will be hosted by the College Historical Society of Trinity College. 1st Proposition TeamUCD Law UCD L&H (1) Eoin Martin (9) Shane Cranley 1st Opposition Team
(2) Louisa Ni Eidean
(10) Marguerite Carter

2nd Proposition TeamUCD Law (3) Ross Kelly (11) Susan Connolly
2nd Opposition Team
TCD Hist
(4) David Boughton
(12) Ciaran Denny

1st Proposition IndTCD Hist (5) Andrea Mulligan

1st Opposition Ind
Kings Inns
(6) David Quinn
2nd Proposition IndTCD Hist (7) Christopher Kissane

2nd Opposition Ind
Kings Inns
(8) Declan Bruton

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