Anna Bradish and Robert McDaid were announced National Europe Direct Soapbox Winners 2018 by Minister Sean Canney TD, following a Grand Final debate in Dublin.
At the event in the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin, each of 15 finalists had three minutes to make their case for or against the theme ‘European Elections: Every Vote Counts’, convince the judges and win over the audience.
Anna Bradish aged 15 from Loughmore, Tipperary was the national winner in the 18-and-under category.
Robert McDaid from Rathcormack, Sligo was the national winner in the adult category.
As well as their prestigious titles, they win €1,000 and a trip to Brussels including a visit to the European Parliament.
Seán Canney, T.D., Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources and Gerard Kiely, Head of Representation, European Commission in Ireland presented the overall winners with their prizes.
All through the autumn, contestants have been battling the length and breadth of the country, passionately defending or attacking the idea: ‘European Elections: Every Vote Counts’. The regional finals were held in the eight Europe Direct Information Centres in public libraries around the country, which hosted lively discussions on this topical subject, giving the public the chance to have their say.
Echoing its Hyde Park London origins, the soapbox is the perfect way to showcase our proud tradition of public speaking and this annual competition is a very popular forum for the country’s budding and practiced public speakers.