Closing Date: Impromptu Debating

Date: Wed, 06, March 2019
Tel: 01 4268900




The Impromptu Debating competition incorporates the skills of debating with spontaneity and general knowledge.

Team Size

A team will consist of three members representing their club.


Counties/regions can enter one team to the national rounds.

Counties/regions with three or fewer clubs, as of August 31, 2018 will be allowed to enter a rainbow team consisting of members who are not necessarily all from the same club.


Team members must be 17 years of age or over and under 35 years of age on September 1st 2018.

The previous year’s county winners/representatives are eligible to compete.

National winners since 2007 are ineligible to compete for two years.  A maximum of one previous national winner can be on a team at any one time.


Both teams will be seated on stage together.

The proposition should sit on the chairman’s right.

The leader of the proposition will open the debate and propose the motion.

Members of the proposition and opposition will speak alternatively.

The leader of the opposition will then summarise the team’s argument, followed by the leader of the proposition.


Motions for debate will be given to the teams 30 minutes before each debate. A draw will take place to decide which team will propose and which team will oppose the motion. Teams will be allowed no preparation material except one dictionary. Separate rooms will be provided for teams to prepare for debate; these rooms will be supervised and no phones will be allowed.


Time allowed for the opening address will be four minutes. Each speaker will be allowed four minutes. Time allowed for the summaries will be four minutes. A warning bell will ring one minute before the end of allocated time for each speaker during which there will be no heckling. Should it be necessary to ring the bell at the end of the time, teams will automatically lose marks at the rate of five marks per minute or part thereof.


A heckle is defined as a quick spontaneous comment, question or interruption. Acceptable heckling will be allowed from only one member at any one time.

Only the person with the floor has the right to reply to a heckle.

There are no additional marks for heckling.

Heckling is not allowed in the final minute of any speech.

Heckling is not allowed during summaries.

A penalty of five marks will be deducted from the teams’ marks for infringement of any of the above rules.

The Presiding Officer, at his/her discretion, can stop excessive heckling. Any team member that continues to heckle

Boisterousness or double heckling will be penalised by the Presiding Officer at the rate of two marks per offence. A double heckle is defined as follows – two people from the opposing team heckling the speaker at the same time.


There will be three judges who must not communicate with each other. Each judge must, independently, give a clear decision in favour of one team.

Marking System

Speaker 1

Ability to Communicate 40   
Layout of Arguments 40
Summary 40
Refutation 30
Total  150

Speaker 2

Ability to Communicate 40   
Content 35
Refutation 25
Total 100

Speaker 3

Ability to Communicate 40   
Content 30
Refutation 30
Total 100


The aggregate placing system will determine the winner. If there is a tie, then the team with the most ‘firsts’ will be the winner. If there is still a tie, then total marks will determine the winner. A Best Debater prize is also awarded at each national round. The host county is responsible for the individual prizes in this competition.

Closing Date

The closing date for entries to National Office is Wednesday, March 6th 2019