Honorary Life Members
Honorary Life Membership is granted by the Philosoph to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the society in some way. It confers voting rights, subsequent to constitutional restrictions, that persist after the HLM has ceased to be a student of UCC, and is regarded as the highest honour the society can bestow on a member, though HLMs have been awarded to non-students in the past.
HLMs are awarded by a vote on a motion, often along the lines of "That This House Would Honour Him/Her", traditionally at the AGM, although they have been bestowed at ordinary meetings and at EGMs such as the Munster Schools Final. The society will consider very carefully whether to move to give a person a HLM in the first place and as such HLMs are traditionally not opposed in a serious fashion; Tiernan Fitzgibbon's HLM, for instance, was opposed by Matt Wantman on the basis that if no one else was going to oppose him then he was clearly not a controversial or divisive enough figure and thus was of no use to a debating society and unworthy of an HLM.
One exception to tradition is the 160th session, which awarded no HLM's. Whilst a motion to 'Honour Him' was proposed about the Auditor Jean-Paul Frenett, it was genuinely opposed. After a vote by secret ballot, the motion was defeated
Since HLMs are awarded by a Private Member's Motion, the Auditor cannot speak on the motion unless they relinquish the chair, and the Auditor's chain. This has led on two occasions recently to an Auditor handing over the chain to a Vice-Auditor, whom they then proposed for a HLM. Paul Flynn and Shane Lyons both received their Honorary Life Memberships while wearing the chain - Paul used his chairmanship to rule his proposer, Diarmuid Early, out of order for speaking too long; Diarmuid eventually took the gavel off him and continued speaking.
While HLMs are never granted automatically, and are within the gift of the membership of the society to bestow, they are typically awarded to all departing Auditors and people who break at Worlds or win national competitions such as the Irish Times or Irish Mace for the society.
The Philosoph is not the only society to grant Honorary Life Membership. Other debating societies, such as the UCC Law Society, NUI, Galway's Literary and Debating Society and the Glasgow University Union bestow similar awards. There are therefore a few individuals who have the privilege of holding more than one HLM. They include:
Please note this list is far from complete.