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Come dine with us

Currently at Dublin airport waiting for a flight to Stansted.

Last night's 'Burning Issues' dinner, with guest speaker Ella Whelan, former assistant editor of the online magazine Spiked, was a fairly boisterous affair.

Twelve guests, including four opinionated journalists and a troop of forthright Irish libertarians, was always going to be lively.

The evening began at 6.30 with drinks on the smoking terrace. An hour later we sat down to dinner in a small private dining room.

Ella spoke for ten minutes on the subject 'Smoking is a feminist issue'. It was then thrown open for general discussion.

I'm not a great moderator at the best of times and keeping guests on topic proved an impossible task so I soon gave up.

The main aim of these events however is to build upon a small network of like-minded individuals and in that respect the evening was a success.

There were the usual familiar faces but we also attracted some new people one of whom enjoyed herself so much she invited us to host the next dinner at her house.

Perhaps we should rename the event 'Come Dine With Us'.

Anyway, I got back to my hotel shortly after midnight and, not for the first time, I wasn't the last to leave.

Ella, meanwhile, was on the radio this morning talking about feminism during which she was asked about smoking during pregnancy. That was quite lively too, apparently.

Update: Our next 'Burning Issues' is in Edinburgh on June 27. Guest speaker is former MSP Brian Monteith who now writes a weekly column for the Scotsman. Watch this space.

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