The twenty-first meeting of the 164th Session of the Society took place on the 25th April 2013 at 7.30pm in the Lanyon Building. The meeting was attended by 21 members.
Mr Carruthers welcomed members and invited Mr Kydd to read the minutes of the previous meeting, which were passed without objection. In Private Member’s Business, Mr Carruthers thanked Mr Macaulay for presenting the society with a brass hand-bell, which was duly christened as the Nigel Bell. As an expression of gratitude, he granted Mr Macaulay a Presidential pardon lasting for the next five minutes in case he chose to make any culturally insensitive comments, or calls for Parliament to be abolished or theories that the sun and the planets orbited around the town of Coleraine. Mr Carruthers then proposed an amendment to s.15 of the Articles of the Society (Gibson’s Bill), to replace the current wording with:
“The Council shall have the power to appoint trustees to advise on the running of the Society, known as The Literific Trust
(a) Nominations will be sent to Council and must be passed by a two-thirds majority in Council and ratified by a simple majority of the House at the next Ordinary Meeting of the Society.
(b) The President shall be required to meet with the Trust at least once a year, where their advice shall be recorded and afterwards shared with all Council members for consideration.(c) In the extraordinary circumstance that five positions of the Council are unfilled, the Trust shall have the power to call an Emergency General Meeting of the Society.
(d) Trust members may be removed with a two-thirds majority in Council and ratification by a simple majorityof the House at the next Ordinary Meeting of the Society.”
Mr Carruthers moved the House to a vote, in which the amendment was passed unanimously. MrCarruthers then announced that the Council had invited five individuals to sit as Vice-Patrons on The Literific Trust, and wished the House to ratify them. The nominees
Prof Anthony Gallagher BSc MSc PhD
Mr Conor Houston LL.M
The Hon. Mr Justice Sir Bernard McCloskey QC
Ms Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE DL
President Emeritus Mr Paul Shannon LL.M
were ratified by the House without objection.
Mr Carruthers then invited the House to consider the evening’s motion, that “This Believes Engineers are the Backbone of Society.”
Mr Ryan Jones, for the proposition, remarked on the happy fact that the heroism of the engineer and her brilliant mastery of mathematics and science to forge nature into an useful form for mankind, could not escape admiration – for marvels of engineering could be quite big. The 1,300 foot-long CMA CGM Marco Polo container ship, for example, which can carry 16,020 twenty-foot containers, could quite reasonably be described as ‘bringing Christmas to Europe.” Whilst the economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) described business as the “engine of society,” Mr Jones concluded, society needed someone to build it and fix it.
Mr Crosby, for the opposition, declared that, if a society was a body politic, the backbone would be the structural support that holds us up. In this case, he argued engineers to be as much the armpit as the backbone of society. Every person in civilization was as much a backbone in the rest of holding it up, for there was no one pivotal group of people supporting all the rest.
Ms Stratful, for the proposition, began her maiden speech for the Society by asking the House to consider the incredible material welfare we enjoyed today through their labours – effort and ingenuity that was underappreciated in an United Kingdom governed by Oxford PPE graduates. In the United States, engineers were the third most respected profession behind doctors. It was about time that the British were thankful that their trains and buses ran (mostly) on time.
Mr Eckert, for the opposition, fondly remembered a quote from a recently-deceased chemical engineer: “There is no such thing as society.” That statement, emphasising the fact that social responsibilities will fall on individuals themselves, ought to remind us that society does not consist of men and women, but an union of men and women bound together by family, friendship, religion, morality, etiquette, altruism, education and commerce. These ties, braces and buttresses were designed by no one engineer.
M Ó Mealláin, for the proposition, reminded the House that his recent ancestor and Icelander Eric the Red – discoverer of the enormous landmass which he dubbed Greenland, after the spectacular capital flight of dollars and euros in their cyclical migration – brought with him horny-helmeted men who could build ships and houses. One of the most successful banking sectors within the Arctic circle would not exist were it not for engineers, and it was for this reason, he concluded that the House should regard engineers as the backbone of society.
The subject of the last speech for the opposition, from Mr Rodgers, has within a week incited a frenzied discussion in the Irish university debating literature. Despite a fierce debate in the historiography, with Mr McAllister describing the Rodgers soliloquy as madness, and Mr Macauley praising it as the greatest genius since the decision to established the University of Ulster at Coleraine, there is as yet no consensus amongst Literific historians as to what precisely Mr Rodgers was talking about when he swept back his golden locks at the lectern and declared that “the backbone of British society was the Mini Cooper.”
Mr Carruthers then opened the motion to members of the floor. Questions and points were heard from Ms Andrade-Rocha, Ms Synnott, Mr Kelters, Mr Macaulay and Ms Gibson. Mr Carruthers then moved the House to a vote, in which the motion was carried by a small majority.