University of Oxford debating society slammed for hosting debate on Irish reunification
Oxford has decided that we're not ready.
Oxford Union, a debating society which bills itself as "the most famous debating society in the world", has come in for some criticism on social media this week.
On Thursday, the society held a debate with the motion: 'This house believes that Ireland is ready for reunification.'
On the society's website, the debate was explained thusly: "20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, government in Northern Ireland is at a standstill.
"Partisan politics have strengthened, not soothed, sectarian divisions, and a settlement becomes less likely by the day. In this context, the United Kingdom's impending departure from the EU has triggered a renewed focus on that question which has shaped an island's history - has the time come for a united Ireland?"
At Heathrow waiting for plane to Dublin. Last night's debate at @OxfordUnion on #IrishReunification was packed out!
Debate focused on how to achieve #UnitedIreland
A lot of the audience really worried by #Brexit & what's to come next in British politics. pic.twitter.com/sb7a01g43z
— Joan Burton (@joanburton) November 23, 2018
Speaking on behalf of Irish reunification were Joan Burton TD, Micheál Martin and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood. However, an opposition team made up of students and guest speakers (including former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, former Justice Minister Claire Sugden, and Irish High Court judge Richard Humphreys) won the day.
After all was said and done and the crowd had their say, it was decided that the motion failed, and that the house did not believe that Ireland is ready for reunification.
The motion fails: This house does not believe Ireland is ready for reunification.
— Oxford Union (@OxfordUnion) November 22, 2018
Since posting about the result on social media, the society has taken reams of abuse from Irish social media users. The tweet has gathered more than 100 responses.
This house believes the tans are at it again
— Conor (@cjmacaodha) November 23, 2018
Big blow for 800 years of Irish struggle here, as Dickiebow Counterwickle Sandhurst comes through with a searing speech on our great Union, pisses himself at the bar after 3 pints, and is given a taxi home to his college room 5 minutes down the road https://t.co/nSch0DS2xi
— Sean (@seanbeegee) November 23, 2018
When you say not ready, how not ready are we talking on a scale of 1 to Brexit? https://t.co/HzkyJrhLut
— Kieran Frost (@frost_ie) November 23, 2018
We'll do it now just to spite you, Oxford. https://t.co/bbRZpar7zi
— Paul Cahill (@paulcahill13) November 23, 2018