Oliver McKenna, a student at Munster Technological University (MTU), was recently named individual winner of Ireland’s oldest higher education debating competition, The Irish Times Debate.
This event is now in its sixty-third year. Oliver is a first-year student of Mechanical Engineering at MTU.
The competition commenced in October 2022 and attracted entries from over 150 higher education students. Following four rounds of intensive debating, just twelve students remained in contention.
Oliver impressed the judges during the final event in St Ann’s Church in Dublin where contestants debated whether the people of Europe should directly and democratically elect the President of the EU Commission. Oliver was selected as the winner of the Individual Speaker’s Award.
Oliver’s triumph broke a duck that lasted over a decade as the award returned to Cork for the first time in 14 years.
MTU President, Professor Maggie Cusack, commented: “I am delighted to congratulate Oliver on winning the Individual Speaker’s Award at The Irish Times Debate.
Oliver developed the MTU Debating Society during his first-year studies.
The prize for the competition is a three-week tour of America during which Oliver will be competing against American college students. He will also get the opportunity to visit Oregon State Prison, during which he will debate with inmates as part of a prisoner rehabilitation scheme.
Past winners of the competition include Darragh O’Brien and Marian Finucane, with past finalists including President Michael D. Higgins and former President Mary Robinson.