Schools Debating Competition

2018 will mark the centenary of women gaining the right to vote, following the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission will be marking this significant democratic milestone with a programme of events called Vótáil100. This programme will highlight the impact of wider voting rights, the history of the suffrage movement and its leaders in Ireland and of the representation of women in parliament.

As part of this centenary programme Seanad Éireann will host a Transition Year Debate, with successful applicants from across the country having the opportunity to speak in the Seanad chamber. We are inviting students with an interest in History, English, Irish, & Politics, who want to engage in a lively debate about important social and political issues, to apply with a short letter of 300 words or less. If a student is shortlisted he or she will then be asked to upload a 2 minute video to a secure location speaking on one of the following topics: The Future of Europe after Brexit, The Impact of Social Media on Democracy, How to Increase Women’s Participation in Politics or The role of Children’s Rights in Education. Following adjudication of the video, all content will be destroyed in line with data protection legislation.

The students finally selected will be mentored in public speaking, and participation will give students the opportunity to develop their confidence to present in front of an audience. It will also develop their insight into the role of the Oireachtas, gender equality, the role of civil society in democracy, and the legacy of the women who fought for the vote. A teacher guiding a student who is selected, will also be invited to Leinster House for the debate.

Closing date for entries is Friday 29th September.

You can download an application form below. As it is a dynamic PDF you can type directly to the form but you will need to download it first before filling it in and saving to your computer. Completed application forms should be emailed to

Click here to download a copy of this form in Irish.

Seanad Youth Debate for Vótáil100 Application Form 2017 - 2018

Transition Year Seanad Debate Additional Information

How do I upload my video?

Instructions showing exactly what to do if you have been sent a link asking you to upload a video.