More regular translations of material on the SU’s website and social media profiles, as well as more co-operation between the Students’ Union and An Cumann Gaelach, were the overriding themes of the society’s second annual hustings for Trinity’s hopeful sabbatical officers held tonight.
Speaking in fairly fluent Irish, presidential candidate, Conor O’Meara, kicked off the event, telling assembled gaeilgeoirí he wanted to tackle the accommodation crisis and help students find part-time jobs. He also indicated that he’d like to see an increase in funding for College’s Irish language week – Éigse na Tríonóide.
Gabriel Adewusi followed O’Meara, telling the audience that me was a firm believer in the proverb, tír gan teanga, tír gan anam – a country without a language, is a country without a soul. He said that signage was “wonderful” but thought that campaigning to give broad curriculum options in Irish more weighting was a better way to promote the language.
He was followed by Lynn Ruane, who said that, although she herself speaks no Irish, she wanted her daughter to enjoy what she never had, and had sent her to a gaelscoil. Her daughter then read on her behalf a short statement asking people to vote for her mam in order to help make Trinity “níos fearr do ghach duine sa Coláiste.” She then said she had the practical experience to help students.
Former Gaeltacht cinnire, Nessan Harpur, spoke of the need to get students from other countries to learn Irish. His manifesto also commits him to looking into the prospect of Christmas exams.
When questioned on the SU’s policy – and the perceived lack of one – for Irish, O’Meara committed the SU to having a working group on the issue formed, Adewusi pledged to consult with Irish speakers and the Cumann before committing to anything, Harpur said he would try and promote Irish among foreign nationals and Ruane spoke of the need for investigation into the matter.
The unopposed candidate for education, Molly Kenny, said she had three policies with regards to Irish. First, she would try and have Irish included as a language option within European Studies; secondly, she would endeavour to have the SU e-mail translated into Irish, and, thirdly, look into expanding broad curriculum modules in Irish. When questioned, she conceded her position would not mean much day-to-day interaction with the language but that she was happy to conduct business with students trí mhean na Gaeilge.
The idea that more of the college’s services should also be made available through Irish was endorsed by all five welfare candidates: Conor Clancy emphasised his experience for the position, whilst Liam Mulligan pledged to look into holding Irish language events during RAG or Shift Week. Louise O’Toole mentioned a need to arrange more non-alcoholic events and Muireann Montague promised to hold more events in co-operation with the Cumann throughout the year. The final candidate, Aoife O’Brien pledged to do the same and promised to consult widely within the Irish language community on issues pertaining to it.
The all-female lineup for the new position of communications and marketing officer saw Jemma O’Leary promise to oversee the translation of SU posters into Irish and and include some Irish language material in her weekly vox pop around campus. She also indicated that she intended to start an SU blog for students to read and write for. She was followed by Aifric Ní Chríodáin, who joked that she had not, in fact, actually liked the TG4 series, Aifric, whose lead had visited the Cumann last week. She mentioned her work with GBK, Yo!Sushi, the University Philosphical Society and LGBT charity ShoutOut as examples of her experience and pledged to help oversee more material as Gaeilge on the SU’s Twitter and Facebook during the Éigse and Seachtain na Gaeilge.
The sole candidate for UT editor, Edmund Heaphy, told voters that he would love to see an Irish article in every single edition of the UT supplement and that he was committed to enlarging the current pool of writers willing to write in Irish for the paper.
Ents, the final race to be discussed, saw each candidate promise to work closely in association with the Cumann in an effort to promote the language around campus through events. Katie Cogan praised the society for its “diversity”, something she pledged to promote as Ents officer and admitted that she thought níos fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste – broken Irish is better than clever English. Final year law and business student, David Gray promised to help the Cumann organise its own unique events, such as its yearly mystery tour and maths student, Conor Parle underlined his commitment to ents through society life.