Information for schools new to the debates

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Information for schools new to the debates

Are you new to the Concern Debates? You’ll find all the information you need to get started on this page.


Download our Concern Debates Handbook to help you get to grips with the rules of the competition, tips on putting together a speech and refutation and rebuttal. Also available to download is the Concern Debates Adjudicator Handbook. Find out how to mark a debate and what adjudicators are looking for in a speech!

Your team

Each school must register one teacher as the debates mentor – you must supply an email address and mobile phone number. Additional teachers can be involved as assistant mentors.

Before registering, the debates mentor should ensure that there are enough team members and substitutes to commit to four debates – we recommend a minimum of six students. You must have substitutes available if, for example, a team member is sick.

Entry fee

Once your registration form is processed, we'll send you an invoice for the entry fee of ROI €100/ NI £70. We offer a reduced rate of ROI €85/ NI £50 to schools who register early. We also offer a discount to DEIS schools – please write in on your application form if this applies to your school.

How the competition works

Each school is assigned four debates in the league phase between October and February. The schools you're competing against and the topics cannot be changed. Two of these will be “home” debates: where your school hosts the debate and two will be “away” debates: where you'll travel to your opponent’s school.

The top 24 teams in the league will go through to the play-offs or directly to the knockout round.

Rearranging or cancelling debates

We'll send you the fixture list, which will include the dates of your debates. We realise these dates may not suit everyone, so there is flexibility to change the date of debates in any given round within a set timeframe which we will let you know in advance, provided your opponent agrees. You must let us know of any changes at least two weeks before the original date of your debate. Serious consideration should be given before you decide to cancel a debate or withdraw from the competition as this can negatively affect the other schools involved. Registration fees are non-refundable once the league fixtures have been arranged. Please use the online form change of date form to move your debate. We do not accept hard copies of change the date forms.

Fear not!

Even if it's your first year, don’t feel intimidated! St. Flannan’s College, Ennis, Piper’s Hill College, Naas and Mount Saint Michael, Rosscarberry (amongst others) have all made it to the final stages of the competition in their first year taking part! If you have other questions, contact us on 01 417 7733 or [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.