South East Technological University (SETU) are once again finalists in this year’s Great Agri Food Debate sponsored by Dawn Meats and McDonalds.

The SETU team are heading to the prestigious Butchers Hall in London next week aiming to win the competition and bring home gold for the third year running.

Excitement is building in the run-up to the final which sees SETU face off against University College Cork (UCC). The topic for the final is “The solution to negative consumer perceptions of red meat is more honest communication”, with SETU opposing the motion.

Maud O’Callaghan from Kill, Co Waterford who is in 3rd year of the BSc in Agriculture course is part of the SETU team along with Patrick Shanahan from Limerick who is the team captain and a final year Agricultural Science student, Owen Maleady from Westmeath who is a final year Land Management student, Aoife Meagher from Tipperary who is in final year Food Science and Innovation and Ciara Leonard from Offaly and Cormac Loughran from Meath who are in 3rd year of the BSc in Agriculture course.

Team captain Patrick said that “this is a great opportunity to represent the university in such a high profile event, and we are all really looking forward to it”.

SETU defeated Aberystwyth University of Wales already this year, while proposing the motion that: “The long-term profitable future of livestock production in Ireland and the UK is a grass-based diet and therefore to reduce livestock numbers to counter climate change is to ignore scientific facts”. Owen Maleady was awarded Best Speaker in what was a very lively debate.

For their part, UCC defeated Dundalk IT on their way to the final, which will take place next Tuesday, the 28th of March.

The team mentors are Rachel O’Dowd, Eleanor Kent, Sara Vero, Rachel Doyle, Denise O’Meara and Tony Woodcock.

On Wednesday, the team met with SETU President Prof Veronica Campbell and discussed the event itself and their preparation for it. Prof Campbell expressed her admiration for the team and wished them well in London.

The event will be streamed at 5pm on Tuesday evening, 28 March.