Hellfire Toastmasters 19-3-2013


Should guns be legalised for personal protection in Ireland? That’s debatable.

Another Tuesday, another Toastmasters meeting, another interesting evening.  Brian, our reserve President, began the meeting at 8pm, welcoming everyone and the guests that attended.  He introduced our Toastmasters for the night, Ger, who got the meeting running and the speeches started, with a brief mention of the timing and the escape routes in case of an emergency by the multi-tasking Dennis.

The first speech was a Stage 2 speech by John H, a returning Toastmaster who is on the road to becoming a Competent Communicator once again.  Beginning with a personal anecdote about watching the new pope on the television, John spoke about the leadership qualities needed for success.  He gave an interesting account of the life of Marcus Aurelius, a 2nd Century Roman Emperor, who wrote an influential guide to leadership which John believes all leaders should read.  The second speech was an Ice-Breaker by Mark.  Standing away from the podium without any notes, Mark showed skill even the most experienced Toastmaster would be unable to match.  He spoke about two important dates, his birth and his upcoming wedding day and how he has three older sisters, or as he refers to them, four mothers.  This is a promising start to a Toastmasters career, and a few people asked him to give his wedding speech in the upcoming weeks, as it will be a useful exercise for Mark.

The third speech was given by Richard, a Stage 8 speech which involves using visual aids.  With the wonderful assistance of Niamh changing the slides, he gave a brief history of human capacity, of people being able to smile, laugh, inspire, but also to do horrific things, like World War II and 9/11.  However, he told us one voice can change things, like Rosa Parks sitting where she wanted to sit on a bus, and 60 years later, there is a black President.  The final speech was a Stage 9 speech by Elizabeth, which asks her to Persuade with Power.  Doing a wonderful job, Elizabeth told us about FairTrade products and motivated us to but these products, as opposed to Non-FareTrade items which could be produced by people living in abject conditions.  She also brought along KitKat chocolate bars, which everybody really enjoyed at the break.

Following the speeches, it was time for the debate.  On the motion “Guns in Ireland should be legalised for personal protection”, proposer John G talked about the problems with criminals having guns whereas citizens couldn’t defend themselves.  This means that criminals can do terrible things, because citizens and the Gardaí can’t fight back.  Lisa opposed the motion, talking about how guns in the hands of irrational people can be very harmful, citing recent shootings in the US.  The debate was thrown open to the floor with some interesting arguments, such as guns coming into the hands of children and how greater guns in houses can be a deterrent for criminals.  After summation speeches by both debaters, a vote was taken and the motion carried.  After all that excitement, it was time for a break.

We returned from the break to the topics part of the meeting, with Cian in the hot seat as Topicsmaster.  He ensured that everyone who hadn’t spoken at the meeting so far was given a topic, with questions such as describing a bank robbery, a favourite teacher in school and the Cypriot bailout.

The next part of the meeting was the evaluations.  All of the evaluators were very happy with the speeches, with Niamh evaluating John, Susan evaluating Mark, Noel evaluating Richard and Jim evaluating Elizabeth.  There were very few suggestions, which is a credit to all of the speakers.  Finally Barry gave a general evaluation which was very praiseworthy of all speakers on the night, with only a couple of suggestions for Ger, the Toastmaster.

The prizes went to:

  • Contribution - Richard
  • Evaluation – Noel
  • Topic – Mandy

That’s all from this week folks, I’m Richard and I’ve been your host.  Next week we’re in the Engineers club for the Area final.  Best of luck to all of our competitors!

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