County Kildare Schools Debating Competition for the Rigby-Jones Memorial Shield, in association with the Leinster Leader
The third round of debating was held in the bright, warm and inviting library of Cross and Passion College, Kilcullen on Wednesday 20th November.
School principal, Catherine Moynihan and debating coach Aaron Dowd extended a warm welcome to all debaters, teachers, adjudicators and supporters and this set the tone for a very enjoyable evening of debate.
The motion “That we would ban fox-hunting” provided plenty of material for the teams from the host school and Meánscoil Rís, CBS Naas.
The Cross and Passion transition year team, Captain Ruth Murphy, Rachel O’Sullivan and Brendan Aspell proposed the motion vehemently and with absolute conviction as they spelled out the horrors of the reality of the hunt.
Ruth opened with an image of the horror of the kill and pointed to the inhumanity and savagery of the fox hunt. She used her research of fox culture to enlighten the audience in regard to the familial nature of fox life and contrasted this with the treatment meted out by the trained hounds encouraged by the dressed-up players of this killing game.
The plight of the farmers whose land was trampled was highlighted.
The Captain of the opposing team from CBS Naas, David Scanlan, lead their opposition with the argument that fox-hunting was a form of pest control which had developed into a sport.
The need for culling was highlighted and hunting seemed the ideal option. Using imagery of RTE’S Love/Hate popular drama, the fox become the “Nidge” of the animal world, a heartless, ruthless killer on the take! The cruelty of fishing was cited as comparison.to the practice of the hunt. Team mates Eoghan Redmond and Alex Suvak underlined their points with reference to the damage done by the fox populaion and the benefits comercially and economically to the local business communities. A figure of between 6000 and 8000 jobs depending on the industry of the hunt was put forward to clinch their theory.
Rachel O’Sullivan and Brendan Aspell gave graphic accounts of the cruelty of the chase and the kill failing to see this as sport! Drag hunting was mooted as the alternative as was the point made in relation to the banning of this sport in the UK. Equating fox-hunting with the cruelties of cock fighting and the older sport of throwing Christians to the lions was effective!
The debate was entertaining and informative and clearly illustrated the argumentative skills of rebuttal and research which was impressive. As in all competitions there must be a winner and the CBS team emerged as the winners. It was unfortunate that the second debate planned was cancelled due to illness.
The chief adjudicator Mr. Dan Boland congratulated the teams on the excellence of their performance and the thoroughness of their research.
The transition year students offered refreshments and an opportunity to socialise which was enjoyed by all present.