Dalriada makes history

Dalriada School has made history by becoming debating champions in both Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Ballymoney team was one of only two teams from Northern Ireland to qualify for the finals of the Debating Matters competition in Edinburgh on Thursday.

In the round-robin semi-final, sixth-form students Christy Gregg, Sarah McQuillan, Andrew Hanna and Peter McCully fought off stiff opposition from prestigious Scottish schools to make it through to the final.

The Dalriads won every one of their three debates without dropping a point and were the only school to receive the unanimous approval of the judges.

In the final, Dalriada’s Luke McAuley and Charlie MacLaughlin took on Royal School Armagh in an all-Northern Ireland final, and successfully convinced the judges that “Wikileaks is bad for democracy”.

The chief judge described the Dalriada teams as “frighteningly good”, and said they had demonstrated a consistently high standard and were convincing winners of all their debates.

Two of the students – Peter McCully and Luke McAuley – also received certificates for outstanding individual contributions.

Dalriada’s prize is an all-expenses paid trip to take part in the national finals at the Royal Society of Medicine in London in July, as well as £500 worth of books for their school.