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Pic St Flannan’s students Sarah Russell, Amy Flaherty, Shane Ryan, Tiernan McDermott, Eoin Ryan, Michael Corry, Wiebke Begemann, Peter O’Connell-Stack who have made it to the All Ireland semi final of the Concern Debates with Mr James Delaney teacher

Ennis students showing concern

A GROUP of Ennis students have proved they can talk the talk after making it to the semi-finals of a national competition. The newly formed St Flannan’s College debating team have reached the semis of the Concern Debates, Concern Worldwide’s flagship school’s activity.
For the semi-finals the St Flannan’s team will debate Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew, County Wicklow on this Tuesday  in the Irish Chartered Institute of Accountants Building, Pearse Street Dublin.
The motion is ‘Confidence that world leaders will take meaningful action on the latest IPCC report is misplaced’ and St Flannan’s will propose the motion. Almost 150 schools initially entered the competition this year. Saint Flannan’s College have triumphed in their previous six rounds and are now down to the four top debating schools in the country.
In the group stages, Saint Flannan’s College have beaten Presentation Secondary School, Limerick, Saint Caimin’s Community School, Shannon, and Salesian’s Secondary School Limerick. In the group’s decider, St Flannan’s defeated Laurel Hill Coláiste, Limerick with an overall majority to top the group stages of the competition by successfully proposing the motion that, ‘Social media helps improve our understanding of world events’. In the fifth round, Saint Flannan’s College also beat Crescent Comprehensive College, Limerick by successfully proposing the motion that, ‘The 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics is money well spent by Brazil’. In a hotly contested All-Ireland Quarter Final, it was Sacred Heart, Clonakilty, Cork who lost out and it was the resilient St Flannan’s team who proposed the motion that, ‘China is good for Africa’.
According to teacher James Delaney, “This team are an absolute pleasure to work with. They work extremely hard and are a credit to their parents, teachers and school community. They are fiercely determined to win every debate and have progressed hugely since September. They’ve become their own best critics and have defied all the odds to achieve remarkable success. The team have heightened awareness in our school community by debating contentious global issues and the developing world. The team have rotated captaincy and the sense of collegiality and work ethic amongst them is phenomenal. The judges have praised this team enormously across the spectrum and one judge has aptly described them as; ‘a team of assassins’. The team have a very bright future ahead and have excelled and surpassed their expectations. The analytical, research, organisational, and interpersonal skills gained from this experience will equip and prepare them well for life’s journey and its milestones. I wish them every success for the future.”
Team member student Peter O’Connell Stack said, “It really wasn’t what I expected as a debating club. Initially, I was sceptical and didn’t think that it would be so much fun. However, since September, it has turned out to be interesting, uplifting and fun in every way. There is nothing to describe the feeling you get when you hear the chief adjudicator announcing that you’ve won the debate. We have won six debates to date.
The other All-Ireland Ssmi-final is against Piper’s Hill College, Naas, County Kildare and Largy College, Clones, County Monaghan. The winning teams of both semi-finals will debate in the RDS, Dublin on Wednesday, May 14.

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