Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has won the great agri-debate, beating off tough competition from other five other third-level colleges.

The debate is organised by Dawn Meats and McDonald’s and is in its sixth year, with 2021 being the first year the Welsh University of Aberyswyth has taken part.

Debates were hosted online and spread over three days to allow for COVID-19 restrictions. This is the second time WIT has won, with UCD previously claiming victory four times.

“I am always struck by the high level of technical and practical knowledge our debaters showcase, and this year was no different. A warm congratulations to WIT on their victory and a special welcome to the University of Aberystwyth who added a new perspective to proceedings,” Dawn Meats CEO Niall Browne said.


The eloquence of the speakers and their debating skills also stood out for Beth Hart, McDonald’s UK and Ireland vice-president for supply chain and brand trust.

“I am confident that the future of the agri-food industry will be bright when these amazing students graduate. McDonald’s remains committed to playing our part in creating a forward-thinking food sector across Ireland and the UK,” she said.

Sarah Davidson, CAFRE, Ciara Fox, UCD, and Michael Martin, WIT, were all awarded the best speaker prize for their respective debates.

The judging panels included Beth Hart from McDonald’s; Brendan Gleeson, secretary general at the Department of Agriculture; Wayne Anderson, director of food science & standards, Food Safety Authority of Ireland; Nicholas Saphir, chair, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board; Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats and Dunbia; and Dan McSweeney, chair, Bord Bia.