[lg policy] Irish Language Hustings Shane Rice gives us the lowdown on last night's Irish Language Hustings.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 16:35:24 UTC 2015

#LeadTCD: Irish Language Hustings Shane Rice gives us the lowdown on last
night's Irish Language Hustings.

*Shane Rice | **Staff Writer*

This evening saw the second annual “Toghchánaíocht” (Hustings) organised by
An Cumann Gaelach and TCDSU. The event offers candidates in The Leadership
Race a chance to speak about how they will offer support to the Irish
language over the course of their term in office. Each candidate was given
two minutes to speak, in Irish or in English, about their policies.
Reachtaire of An Cumann Gaelach, Fionn Ó Deá, then posed a question to the
candidates, each was then given time to answer before the floor was opened
to questions from the audience. The main theme was the improvement of
relations between An Cumann Gaelach and the SU.


Conor O’Meara was first to speak, doing so through the medium of Irish. He
gave a rundown on what he would hope to achieve if elected. He explained
his intentions of working with Daft.ie in setting up an accommodation
database, which would simplify the process of accommodation hunting for
Trinity students. He would also endeavour to establish a jobs list which
would inform students of jobs available in college. With regards to the
Irish Language O’Meara says it would be a policy of his to have a
sabbatical attend meetings of An Cumann Gaelach’s committee on a monthly
basis as well as having the SU email available in Irish every week. He
would also hope to continue cooperation with An Cumann Gaelach in the
organisation of Éigse na Tríonóide.

Gabriel Adewusi was next to speak, beginning in Irish he comically remarked
“An bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithris?” He then continued in English,
saying that despite his own limited ability to converse in Irish, he is a
firm believer in the “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam” adage. He believes that
the Irish language is a big part of college life and that it should be
fostered and encouraged. He would hope to do this by lobbying for more
weight to be put on modules which include Irish as broad curriculum
subjects. He also highlighted his desire to make the SU more open and

Lynn Ruane, with her daughter by her side, was next up to have her say. She
spoke in English, explaining that although she never had the chance to
learn Irish this has driven her to ensure that her children don’t miss out
on the opportunity to do so and she has sent them to Gaelscoileanna in
order to afford them this chance. Her daughter then spoke on her behalf in
Irish. Lynn told of how she had been offered the chance, through the
Trinity Access Programme, to learn Irish but hadn’t availed of it. She said
that her main policies are “inclusion, equality and access” and that
language is included under all those headings.

Nessan Harpur was last to speak, speaking solely in Irish. He emphasised
his desire to encourage the use of Irish in college and to introduce
international students to the language in the hope that they then take the
language and culture with them when they return after their studies. He
would also strive towards further cooperation between the SU and An Cumann

Fionn asked a question about the SU’s Irish Language policy, O’Meara said
he would establish a working group on the issue of implementing one,
Adewusi said that he would consult with the relevant parties while Harpur
emphasised the importance of the promotion of Irish among international
students and Ruane would like to see the review of previous policies
regarding the language. This issue was however resolved as the candidates
and Fionn were informed that the SU does in fact have a policy on the
language in its reviewed constitution, which is still to be published.


[image: DSC_5376]

Next to speak was the education candidate Molly Kenny, who runs unopposed.
Kenny explained the three main areas she would focus on regarding the Irish
language, those being; the introduction of Irish as a language option for
European Studies, the translation of the SU’s weekly email and the
expansion of the current broad curriculum Irish modules. She said that as
Education Officer her interaction with the language would be limited as the
education officer often deals in case work. She also commented that the
resources of Oifig na Gaeilge and other organisations in the provision of
Irish language classes are limited and she would hope to try and help
change this.


Conor Clancy began the welfare discussion. Speaking in Irish, he said that
his experience in the area of welfare would help him in the role. He said
that he would like to improve the services currently available to students.
He also supported the provision of more services through Irish in the

Liam Mulligan then spoke, through Irish, about his wish to increase the
presence of the SU outside of House 6. He would hope to have An Cumann
Gaelach more involved in welfare-run events such as SHIFT week and Mental
Health Week and to have the timetable published in Irish.

Louise O’Toole put emphasis on the need for further cooperation between An
Cumann Gaelach and TCDSU in promoting positive health. She also highlighted
the need for more provision of SU services in Irish.

Muireann Montague emphasised her interest in the Irish language and her
hope to have policies published in Irish on the TCDSU website. She would
also hope to strengthen links between An Cumann Gaelach and the SU, using a
‘géilí’, a ‘gay céilí’, as an example.

Aoife O’Brien decided on using English in order to avoid “butchering” the
language. She pledged her support for Éigse events and to having welfare
campaigns in both Irish and English.

Fionn posed a question asking how the Welfare officer could assist people
coming from Irish language backgrounds. Clancy believed that having online
welfare resources available through Irish would be a way to do this. Liam
Mulligan thought that closer work with An Cumann Gaelach would increase the
visibility of the Welfare Officer. Louise O’Toole suggested that mentoring
through Irish could help a person in this situation. Muireann Montague was
of the opinion that more “little things”, such as more bi-lingual signage,
would be an assistance to these people. Aoife O’Brien told of how she had
previously encountered a person who was transitioning from learning
completely through Irish to learning completely through English, she
believes that a bigger Irish presence throughout Fesher’s Week would assist
people from Irish language backgrounds.

A question about the Student Counselling Service and the lack of ability to
make appointments online was then raised. Conor Clancy argued that this
ensured greater attendance at appointments as he believes that a phone call
offers more guarantee than an email. Liam Mulligan admitted his frustration
with the system, saying that many students are often too nervous to call up
to book an appointment. Aoife O’Brien argued that it can often be daunting
to go in in person or to call for an appointment and that because the
system has the potential to be abused doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.
Louise O’Toole suggested that a phone call as a follow-up to an email could
be an option.

*Communications and Marketing:*

[image: DSC_5442]

Jemma O’Leary began the Communications and Marketing section of the night.
Through Irish she pledged her commitment to improving the SU website and to
beginning a blog which could feature Irish language posts. She also
highlighter her intention to produce a video with a round-up of council
proceeding, saying that this could also be made available through Irish.
She also believes that information about the services offered by Oifig na
Gaeilge should be made available in the Fresher’s Packs.

[image: DSC_5427]

Aifric Ni Chriodain began by admitting that she was never a big fan of the
Irish language show “Aifric”, she continued by listing her experience in
the areas of marketing and graphics with organisations such as GBK and
Shoutout. She then said that she would like to have the SU facebook in
Irish during weeks such as Éigse na Tríonóide.

When questioned about the translation of the SU’s weekly email to Irish,
both candidates offered different opinions on how they believe this should
be done. O’Leary said that she would work with the part-time officer for
the Irish Language and others in the improvement of the service, saying
that it could be a possibility to have the Irish language version at the
end of the English language version. Aifric disagreed with this saying that
the email would then be too long.

*Editor of UT:*

Next up was the uncontested candidate for the new position of independent
editor of University Times, Edmund Heaphy. Heaphy pledged to have more
Irish language content in the publication. He said that his new section
‘Radius’, which would feature society events, would be able to publicise
events organised by An Cumann Gaelach. He also would like to publish one
edition of the UT supplement completely through the Irish language.

When asked about the re-occurring problem of the responsibility for Irish
language reportage falling on one person alone, Heaphy said that this was a
common problem with UT and that he would like to explore the possibility of
expanding teams to alleviate this problem. He was then asked if he would
promise to create the position of Irish Language editor within the next
year, Heaphy committed himself to doing so.


[image: DSC_5467]

Katie Cogan began the ents conversation with the old proverb “Is fear
Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste”, before explaining the origins of her
accent and continuing in English. She emphasised her wish to increase
diversity and that promoting interest in culture was a way to do so. She
also believes that the Ents Officer should support and provide resources
for An Cumann Gaelach.

[image: DSC_5479]

David Gray, through Irish, highlighted the need for cooperation between the
Ents Officer and An Cumann Gaelach. He says that in the position he could
offer support the society for events such as their mystery tour, having
supported them during Seachtain na hÉigse with their even Club na hÉigse.

[image: DSC_5481]

Conor Parle spoke through Irish about his involvement with the Trinity Film
Festival and how he would hope to introduce three new festivals if elected
to the position, those being a comedy festival, a literature festival and a
drama festival. He would also endeavour to organise an event each week with
a different society.

Fionn Ó Deá asked why the candidates thought that the Ents officer had
never approached An Cumann Gaelach in relation to event organisation. Katie
Cogan said that An Cumann Gaelach was a society which “commands respect”
and “represents meaning”. She would like to organise events which offer a
“flashback to the Gaeltacht”. David Gray said that Ents has often been
closed off in the past and he would hope to diversify Fresher’s Week and
that there is scope to include An Cumann Gaelach in Fresher’s Week events.
Conor Parle explained that he didn’t know why the society had never been
approached but pledged to support it if elected. He says that An Cumann
Gaelach has a big role in the life of the college and he would hope to
improve the connection between Ents and the society.

All candidates agreed that events organised by An Cumann Gaelach need to be
publicised and that Ents has the ability to do this through social media
and the weekly SU email.


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