The Phil feels it is unfortunate that circumstances have arisen under which the planned debate can no longer go ahead without compromising the safety of staff and students.
Following on from a meeting with college authorities on Thursday at 5:30pm, and a prior meeting of the officers of council, we came to the unanimous decision to cancel the debate on immigration scheduled to take place on October 20th. It has been speculated that this decision came as a reaction to a small number of non-students staging a confrontational ‘sit-in’ on Thursday evening in the Graduate’s Memorial Building. By way of clarification, the Phil would like to confirm that the decision on the debate had already been made by the time the event in question had occurred. However, the nature and tone of the incident crystallized for council the correctness of the resolution to cancel the debate, due to the seriousness of the potential threat to the safety of students and staff.
The position of the Phil with regards to the rights of all of the speakers to discuss immigration in this debate remains unchanged. Though the Council in many ways are ideologically opposite to Mr Griffin, we recognise that a true debate does not carry with it an assumption of moral righteousness for any side or submission; and that the spirit of free speech and oratory is best protected by those who would allow their moral nemesis to present a case – even if only to test our personal consideration of what is right and wrong. As a liberal society in a liberal institution, we feel that Mr Griffin’s right to speak on immigration should be protected. Despite this, The Phil have been put in a position whereby to proceed with the debate would be to risk the safety of our members. After the submission of serious security concerns by college authorities, the Gardai and other members of the student body – we feel we have no other responsible choice in this matter than to cancel the debate.
We deeply regret the society’s incapacity to act as an open forum for discourse in this matter.