The Maynooth Open

For lovers of both spirited debating and the classic Maynooth tradition of the big dirty session, the Maynooth Open is a key date to have marked in your calendar.  Back for its second year and a two day event this time around, it promised to combine the two things Maynooth Lit & Deb excel at, lively debate and alcohol consumption, and combine them they did. On his expectations for the event, head organiser Dafe Orugbo stated “I really just wanted to create a fun atmosphere of creative and competitive debate”.  With a number of interesting motions prepared, the traditional Maynooth hospitality and a special brew prepared for our guests, that atmosphere was certainly created, many of the visiting teams and judges praising us for our open and inclusive nature.

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The motions were largely of a topical nature, taking on such issues as the practice of no platforming, Salafi Islamic clerics being allowed to practice, the government’s handling of drugs and the wage gap. However there were a couple of “open motions”: a vague title that could be set by the opening proposition. This lead to a number of interesting departures down rabbit holes of deep philosophical pondering, most notably during the final. Who knew that “This House Would Shake It Off” could break down into a vicious debate about the fundamental nature of humanity, the technological capabilities of aliens who had achieved space travel and how ethical it was to murder aliens crashed in the Arizona desert, discovered while taking a leisurely hike?

The standard of speaking displayed was astoundingly high across the board, yet ultimately opening opposition won that debate. Susie Obaseki, a second year student here and judge of the final had this to say about the progression of the debate: “The motion was an open motion and so it was up to the speakers own interpretation. I don’t think anyone was expecting aliens to be the topic of the debate but even still the debate itself was fascinating and fun”.

 

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Without the aid of the volunteers however, it is unlikely that the Open would have gone as well as it did. The logistics that go into planning an event of this scale are quite frankly terrifying for this author who still occasionally sleeps through their alarms so credit must be given to the judges, swing speakers, sabbatical officers who gave up their time to help out and the numerous unnamed volunteers who helped make the event a success. Maynooth’s Literary & Debating society have truly done themselves and the college proud, both in being able to pull off an event such as this and with a number of our own judges breaking. For a small college that’s relatively young compared to other institutions, we certainly do punch well above our perceived weight and the success of the Maynooth Open was no exception. I for one am certainly looking forward to how next year will turn out.