Hellfire Toastmasters Meeting, 29th January, 2013

Debate Topic - Government Funding and the Arts

Should the government fund the arts?

With a special Toastmaster vote of appreciation, to this weeks reporter – Richard!


The meeting opened at 8pm sharp with our reserve President for the night, Brian, standing in for our usual general, Susan. He reminded everybody that the Tall Tales competition is taking place and following various pleas by our Vice President for Education (VPE) Bernard, a full schedule of speakers have been found. He also reminded people that the annual membership was due before the end of February and he wouldn’t be the least offended if people gave him money tonight. John Mc, our Sargent-at-Arms, reminded everybody to turn off their phones and pointed out the nearest exit in case of a fire.

Brian handed control of the meeting over to Jim, our Toastmaster for the night. He immediately introduced the first speaker of the night, Richard, to take the floor. Richard was giving a Stage 7 speech which forces the speaker to collect information from a variety of sources. Richard’s speech was entitled “A Dummy’s Guide to Doping” and explained how cyclists’ doped and why they doped. The second speech of the night was given by Sinéad, also a Stage 7 speech. Without having too much time to prepare, Sinéad spoke elegantly about super foods; the everyday healthy foods that we don’t expect can help to fight cholesterol amongst other things. She even had a hand out for everybody to take home.

The last speech of the night was given by Keith. He has quickly worked through the manual and this was a Stage 9 speech, a phenomenal achievement for somebody who only joined a little over a year ago. Keith had to use the power of persuasion in his speech and this he did. Entitled “Yes We Can”, Keith spoke about suicide in Ireland. He reminded us that the Irish people had challenged issues like road casualties and our attitude to drink-driving and that we could challenge suicide and succeed in the same manner. He ensured that the audience didn’t get too demoralised by adding appropriate humour to his speech.

Then came the debate and the motion was “The government should abolish all funding for the Arts”. Marlene proposed the motion and spoke about how the private sector will take the place of the government through patronage and that this money is being taken away from critical areas like education and health. Ger opposed by mentioning that art reflects our cultural heritage and that private companies can have an undue influence on which pieces of art get commissioned and chosen. Furthermore, he pointed out that the certainty of funding from the government gives the artist the freedom to be creative.

There were several contributions from the floor, with some people calling art silly and that it serves no purpose for the economy while others stated that the money given to the artist can trickle through the economy. After the debaters had the chance to summate their viewpoints a vote was taken with the motion being defeated.

Our break followed and everybody had a chance to chat to each other.

The meeting started up in earnest once again with everybody’s favourite* time of the evening, Topics. Noel, our Topicsmaster, had a chance to give everybody a topic given the low turnout on the night, and he started with those not on the roster for the night. Topics included parents smoking in front of their children, horsemeat in burgers, the new drink-driving laws in Kerry, people being able to arm themselves with more than a hurley and the presence of pets in the wedding photographs of Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy.

Then came the evaluations of the speeches, and John Mc, recovering from his earlier appearance as Sargent-At-Arms, evaluated Richard’s speech, Niamh evaluated Sinéad’s speech and John O evaluated Keith’s speech. All were largely positive, with only a minimal number of recommendations for each speaker, including stance in relation to the podium, the use of jargon that everybody may not understand and the use of the hands.

Unfortunately we didn’t have an Em and Ah counter but our General Evaluator, Rose, stood up and gave her opinion for the night. She mentioned the couple of things that the Toastmaster could have done a little better and lamented the fact that we didn’t have an Em and Ah counter. She praised the speakers and the debaters, along with the Topicsmaster, and had some kind words for each of the evaluators, pointing out that John O was the only person who read out the objectives of the speech, and this is what earned him the Evaluator of the Night award. Finally she reminded everybody to fulfil their roles if they were on the roster for the night, as a few people couldn’t attend due to sickness, though in fairness to them, they did have the necessary replacements there.

Jim reminded people of the same thing as it makes the life of the Toastmaster very hard, before Brian closed the meeting and we all went home.

  • Speaker – Keith
  • Evaluator – John O
  • Topics – Kaleigh and Mike

Until next week…

*least favourite

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