159th Session (2008/2009)

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Previous Session:
158th Session
159th Session
2008 - 2009
Next Session:
160th Session
Chris Hale, Rec Sec; Luke Harris, Auditor; Dr. Edward Walsh UL; Shane Kelly, USI at Fees Debate (from Evening Echo 22 October 2008)


Elections 2008[edit]

8 positions were up for election at the AGM of the 158th Session; Auditor, External Vice-Auditor, Internal Vice-Auditor, Finance Officer, Social Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Schools Convenor and Recording Secretary. This was unusual as the IV Convenor was not elected at the AGM, rather the position was co-opted for that session. See below for details. For the second year in a row, Re-Open Nominations was an option on the ballots. There were 3 positions that were contested, though it is widely believed that Kevin Hargrave's candidacy for Auditor was in fact a joke campaign. Luke Harris defeated Kevin for Auditor. Shane Lyons defeated Maureen Haverty for External Vice-Auditor. Chris Hale defeated Danny Kelly to be elected Recording Secretary, to be in the unprecedented position of being the Recording Secretary for both Philosoph and Lawsoc in the same session.

Votes Cast: Auditor:
Luke Harris: 41
Kevin Hargrave: 4
RON: 2
Spoiled: 3

External Vice-Auditor:
Shane Lyons: 37
Maureen Haverty: 8
Spoiled: 3

Recording Secretary:
Chris Hale: 33
Danny Kelly: 2
RON: 5

Minutes 158 AGM

Co-Option of IV Convenor[edit]

Following an EGM in the 158th Session, the society decided to make the position of IV Convenor an appointed one owing to the need for close co-operation between the Convenor and the organising committee of Cork Worlds 2009. The IV Convenor was appointed by the Convenor of Worlds Art Ward in consultation with other members of the Steering Committee of Cork Worlds and the incoming auditor, Luke Harris. Following an interview process, Jolene Quinn was announced as the IV Convenor on the 3rd of April 2008.

See Also[edit]

Shadow Committee

Ordinary Meetings[edit]

1 The Prostitution Debate[edit]

"That This House Would Decriminalise Prostitution"

Boole 4, Monday 29th September ‘08

They say it’s the oldest profession in the world. But after all that time it still seems we haven’t decided what to do with prostitution. With many things these days, it is fashionable to think people should be allowed the freedom to do as they like and make their own choices, free from restrictions. If you choose to be a prostitute, fine. If you choose to go to a prostitute, fine. After all, if sex is legal and buying stuff is legal, why isn’t buying sex legal? But women trafficked into Ireland and forced to work in brothels by violent criminals have little choice. Impoverished mothers who take up prostitution temporarily every November so they can afford to live through another Christmas have little choice either.

So would decriminalisation really enhance people’s liberty to choose, or simply make a bad situation worse? Most people never bother to think about it. And most politicians are too afraid to even mention prostitution. It may be that decriminalising it will make things safer for prostitutes, but then again it may make no difference.

Niki Adams, Spokesperson for the English Collective of Prostitutes
Jan Visser, The Red Thread (De Rode Draad) in the Netherlands

Steven Cull
Eoghan McSwiney

Motion was carried

Minutes 159 1

2 The Assisted Dying Debate[edit]

Best Collaboration UCC Societies' Awards

"That This House Would Legalise Assisted Dying"

Brookfield G01, Monday 6th October '08

No one likes to think about it. In truth we are afraid of it. But for some it is a reality, and it may be one day for us too. If old age or terminal illness make life unbearably painful should you have the right to choose to die? Or is life too precious to end no matter how difficult or painful it becomes? Some argue that modern medicine and palliative care can virtually eliminate pain so there is no need for euthanasia anyway. But others disagree: many Irish citizens have already arranged for their own voluntary euthanasia abroad if they reach a certain stage of dementia. Yet others prefer to see life out to the end no matter what, after all, what guarantee is there that death brings an end to pain? From the state's point of view it has a duty to protect all its citizens and their lives: allowing assisted-dying may compromise this duty in principle and cheapen the value of life in general, at least in the eyes of some. Doctors too have an important role in this debate; they must keep their Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, just as the state must protect its citizens. But is there ever a time when a doctor does more harm than good by keeping a patient alive?

The debate was held in conjunction with the UCC Medical Society, and jointly chaired by the Philosoph Auditor Luke Harris and the Auditor of 159th Session of MedSoc, Sean Reynolds.

Lothar Luken, Member of the Humanist Association of Ireland
Art Ward, Convenor of Cork Worlds 2009, and noted Liberal

Dr. Tony O'Brien, Marymount Hospice Cork
Dr. Rob George, Care Not Killing

Motion was defeated

Minutes 159 2

3 The Third Level Fees Debate[edit]

"That This House Would Reintroduce Third Level Fees"

G19, Monday 20th October ‘08

Dr. Edward Walsh, Founding President University of Limerick

Shane Kelly, President of the Union of Students in Ireland

Motion was defeated

Minutes 159 3

4 The U.S. Election Debate[edit]

"That this house would Vote Obama"

G19, Monday 3rd November ‘08

Richard Delevan

Richard Waghorne

The debate was held in conjunction with the UCC International Relations Society.

Motion was carried

Minutes 159 4

5 The Copyright Debate[edit]

"That This House would Support Copyright"

G19, Monday 10th November '08

1st Proposition:
Samantha Holman CEO Irish Copyright Licensing Agency

2nd Proposition:
Luke Harris

1st Opposition:
Magnus Eriksson Founding member of Piratbyran

2nd Opposition:

Professor Joost Smiers Professor Emeritus of Political Science of the Arts, Utrecht School of the Arts

The debate was held in conjunction with the UCC Law Society, and was jointly chaired by the Philosoph Vice-Auditor Shane Lyons and the Auditor of the 79th Session of LawSoc, Mike Cahill. This was, as far as is known, the first joint ordinary meeting of the two rival debating societies in UCC.

Motion was carried

Minutes 159 5

6 The Catholic Church Debate[edit]

Internal Mace/William Francis Lynam Mace Final

"That this house believes the Catholic Church is a Cult with Great PR"

G19, Monday 17th November '08

1st Proposition: Luke Harris & Chris Hale
2nd Proposition: Kieran Murphy & Aengus Ó Corráin

1st Opposition: Mark Collins & Maureen Haverty
2nd Opposition: Eoghan McSwiney & Shane Lyons

Winners 2nd Opposition Eoghan McSwiney & Shane Lyons
Runners-up 2nd Proposition: Kieran Murphy & Aengus Ó Corráin
Best Speaker Kieran Murphy

Motion was carried

Internal Mace Trials

Minutes 159 6

7 The Stem Cell Research Debate[edit]

Best Collaboration UCC Societies' Awards

"That this house supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research"

G19, Monday 24th November '08

Guest Chair: Dr Deirdre Madden

1st Proposition: Baroness Mary Warnock
2nd Proposition: Dr. Tom Moore

1st Opposition: Dr. Donal Ó Mathúna
2nd Opposition: Prof. Tommie McCarthy

The debate was held in conjunction with the UCC Medical and Genetics Societies

Motion was carried

Examiner Article
Irish Times Article
Fr Vincent Twomey refuses to attend subsequent Philosoph Debate on foot of Stem Cell Research Debate Irish Times Twomey Response

Minutes 159 7

8 1916 Easter Rising Debate[edit]

"That this house Believes that the 1916 Easter Rising was Immoral"

G19, Monday 1st December '08

You all know the story of Easter Week 1916. Even if you’ve never studied history, you’ve heard about 1916. Those fighting rebels are known to all, they have given their names to buildings, streets and GAA clubs throughout the land, familiar as household words: de Valera, Pearse, and Connolly. Like the Storming of the Bastille in France and signing the Declaration of Independence in the United States, the Rebellion of Easter 1916 is something ingrained in our collective consciousness, almost an innate part of being Irish.

But in recent times, at the same time as the state has begun to commemorate the rising with military parades, people have begun to raise more questions and pose some problems with 1916. Were the leaders of the Rising in fact brave heroes, justly fighting for freedom? Or were they deluded, bloodthirsty and immoral? The debate now rages about whether the whole affair was a tragedy: a futile waste of innocent life, or whether it struck a great blow against oppression in the legitimate struggle for democracy and self determination.

It would be hard for us as a people to admit that an event which we have revered as a nation for so long was in actual fact morally wrong and totally unnecessary, but that may be exactly what we need to do: to truly reconcile ourselves with our past. Then again, maybe this is just Revisionism gone mad, a misguided view of history, distorted by the violence in Northern Ireland and a mistaken application of our current pacific behaviour to a very different time and situation. One thing is for sure, you won’t find out unless you come!

Dr Ruth Dudley Edwards

Minister Dr. Martin Mansergh

The debate was held in conjunction with the UCC Historical Society

Motion was narrowly defeated

Irish Times article

Minutes 159 8

9 The Israel Debate[edit]

"That this house Supports the Actions of Israel"

G19, Monday 19th January '09

Eoghan McSwiney

Keith O'Brien

Motion was very narrowly carried

Motion: "That this house would Honour Him"
Proposer: Ross Frenett
Seconder: Tony Murphy
Opposer: Shane Lyons

Motion was carried thus granting Honorary Life Membership of the society to Mr Art Ward.

Minutes 159 9

10 The Gay Adoption Debate[edit]

"That this house believes that the Traditional Family Unit is not Essential to a Child's Development""

G19, Monday 26th January '09

Dr. Julia Norris

Herman Kelly

Motion was carried

Minutes 159 10

11 The Islam Debate[edit]

The Lord Mayor's Gold Medal Final

"That this house believes Islam is Incompatible with the West"

University Council Chambers, Monday 2nd February '09

Guest Chair
The Lord Mayor of Cork Brian Birmingham

1st Proposition: Mark Collins
2nd Proposition: Shane Lyons

1st Opposition: Art Ward
2nd Opposition: Eoghan McSwiney

Winner 2nd Proposition: Shane Lyons
Runner-Up 2nd Opposition:Eoghan McSwiney

Motion was defeated
Minutes 159 11

Lord Mayor's Gold Medal Trials

12 The Financial Sector Debate[edit]

"That this house would let the Banks go to the Wall"
G19, Monday 16th February '09

Chris Skinner Financial Services Club

Ciarán Hancock Irish Times Business Affairs Correspondent

Motion was very narrowly carried

Minutes 159 12

13 The God Debate[edit]

"That this house believes God is Fraud"
G19, Monday 23rd February '09

Peter Cave Head of Humanist Association
Michael Nugent Head of Atheist Ireland

TP O'Mahony Religious Affairs Correspondent with Irish Examiner
Cowper UCC Christian Union PRO

Motion was declared a tie (partially in order to retire more swiftly)

This debate, and the social following it, were oganised entirely by the Special Projects Committee & chaired by Becky West, with John Beechinor acting as Recording Secretary.
The swift closing of the voting was a source of controversy however, as the society recieved several emails in complaint, as well as a letter to the editor being published in a national daily about the event.

Minutes 159 13


14 The Sexual Liberation Debate[edit]

"That this house believes that Sexual Liberation has failed" G19, Monday 2nd March '09

Proposition: Rev. Dr. Brendan Purcell

Opposition: Quentin Fottrell

Motion was defeated

Minutes 159 14

15 Student's Union Election Hustings[edit]

G19, Monday 9th March '09

All eleven candidates attended hustings and the various election issues were discussed; bilingual policy on campus, improved entertainments, fighting fees, alcohol policy, and student activism to name but a few.

The issues up for referendum were also debated.

Minutes 159 15

Extraordinary General Meetings[edit]

1 The Schools' Charter[edit]

G19, Tuesday 30th September 2008

2 Cork Invitational Final[edit]

University Council Chambers, Thursday 30th October 2008

3 Cork Intervarsity Final[edit]

Boole 3, Saturday 1st November 2008

Minutes 159 Cork IV

4 World Universities' Debating Championship ESL Final[edit]

Devere Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, UCC, January 2009

5 World Universities' Debating Championship Final[edit]

"That this house would Ban Abortion at all stages of Pregnancy"
Concert Hall Cork City Hall, Saturday 3rd January 2009

Guest Chair: Ian Lising

The finalists were: 1st Gov - Monash B (Ravi Dutta and Victor Finkel) 1st Opp - Oxford A (Will Jones and James Dray) 2nd Gov - Harvard A (Cormac Early and Lewis Bollard) 2nd Opp - Oxford C (Jonathan Leader-Maynard and Alex Worsnip)

The 2009 World Debating Championships were won by Oxford A on a 5-4 split.

Minutes 159 Worlds Final

See Also: Cork Worlds 2009

6 Munster Schools Debating Competition Final[edit]

"That this house belives Israeli Policy is the Major Barrier to Peace in the Middle East"
Aula Maxima, UCC, Saturday 7th February 2009

Guest Chair: Micheál Martin Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minutes 159 Schools Final

Alumni Dinner[edit]

Saturday March 21st, 2009
The Society held what was probably its second Alumni dinner during this session. Following a four-course meal, speeches were heard from Michael Fitzgerald, Anthony J. Adolph, Donnacha Ó Corráin, Conor Buckley and Ross Frenett. After the speeches there was a Private Members' Time motion entitled "That this house would welcome them back", proposed by Kieran Doran, seconded by Brian Radley and opposed by Michael Muldoon.


Munster Colours Debate[edit]

Winners: Marcus Walsh and Chris Hale
Runners-up: Kieran Murphy and Conall Ó Deasmhúnaigh
Finalists: Luke Harris and John Beechinor
Finalists: Keith Beamish and Shane Lyons

Top of Speaker Tab: Shane Lyons
Best Speaker in the Final: Shane Lyons

Oxbridge Trials[edit]

See main article

Oxford IV[edit]

Quarter-Finalists: Art Ward and Ross Frenett (Breaking 2nd)

Trinity IV[edit]

Semi-finalists: Ross Frenett and Eoghan McSwiney
Quarter-finalists: Shane Lyons and Daniel Gleeson
Note: The team of Art Ward and Steve Nolan finished 16th and thus should have broken to the quarter-finals. However, an error with the tab meant that they were down as finishing 17th and thus did not speak in the knock out rounds.

Galway National Law Debates[edit]

Semi-Finalists: Luke Harris and Paul Flynn
Finalists: Tony Murphy and Jeremy Kinsella
Winners: Daniel P. McCarthy and Gregg O'Neill

UL Open[edit]

Semi-finalists: Daniel Gleeson and Aengus Ó Corráin

Glasgow Ancients[edit]

Runners-Up: Kieran Murphy and Aengus Ó Corráin

Edinburgh IV[edit]

Finalists: Aengus Ó Corráin and Kieran Murphy
Top of Speaker Tab: Derek Lande
Runners-Up: Derek Lande & Katrina Shand (GUU-Philosoph Composite)

DCU Open[edit]

Finalists: Art Ward and Brendan Bruen (Composite)
Highest Pro-Am Team: Kieran Murphy & John Beechinor
Highest Am: John Beechinor

National Maidens' Debating Competition[edit]

Runner-Up: John Beechinor
Finalist: Becky West
Semi-finalists: Conall Ó Deasmhúnaigh and Cathal Malone

John Smith Memorial Irish Mace[edit]

Finalists: Art Ward and Eoghan McSwiney
representing the UCC Law Society

The Irish Times[edit]

Semi-finalists: Marcus Walsh and Ger Sadlier representing UCC Law Society
Semi-finalists: Eoghan McSwiney and Luke Harris representing UCC Law Society
Semi-finalist: Mark Collins as an individual

Society Achievements[edit]

Previous Session:
158th Session
159th Session
2008 - 2009
Next Session:
160th Session