The first Trinity College Dublin Irish Language Awards were held recently in Seomra na Gaeilge, Trinity’s Irish language common room. The awards, presented by Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh, TD were given in recognition of the important and exceptional work being done by Trinity students and staff for the promotion of the Irish language.
The winners of the first Trinity College Irish Language Awards were:
- Student Society – Traditional Irish Music Society
- College Service – ABAIR (School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences)
- Individual Student – Fionn Ó Deá (4th year Law)
- Individual Staff Member – Clíona Ní Shuilleabháin (Assistant Librarian)
The following nominees were Highly Commended:
- Student Society – Voluntary Tuition Programme
- Individual Student – Rebecca Comer (3rd year French and Modern Irish)
A staff-student subcommittee of Coiste na Gaeilge, the College’s Irish Language Committee selected the nominees who most impressed them with their commitment to the Irish language, the tangible effects of their actions on the Irish language in Trinity College and the resulting benefits for the whole university and / or the general public. The committee noted that all of the awardees have made great achievements in the area of the Irish language.
Minister McHugh congratulated the winners for their contribution to the strength of the Irish language in Trinity while also acknowledging the many staff and students throughout the years who have helped to build the vibrant Irish-speaking community that the University enjoys today. The Minister also expressed his satisfaction at seeing Trinity students as the next generation of Irish speakers and advocates, making such positive developments for the language.
“I am delighted to see the wonderful work taking place in Trinity College to promote our national language,“ said Minister McHugh. “I am especially pleased to see the enthusiasm and good will towards the language which is evident amongst the students here. To strengthen the language, we need to ensure that the next generation of Irish speakers are given every encouragement and I believe these awards are a great step forward in this regard here in Trinity College.”
The Secretary to the College, Mr John Coman spoke about the many Irish language services offered by Trinity, including Seomra na Gaeilge, the Irish language student residency scheme and free Irish classes for all staff and students, which the College’s international students have a great interest in. The Secretary also praised An Cumann Gaelach for their central role in promoting Irish amongst the student body. An Cumann Gaelach is one of Trinity College’s largest societies, which has won several awards in recent years, both within the university and on a national level.
The wide range of nominations for the Irish Language Awards showed, however, that support for the Irish language in Trinity is by no means restricted to An Cumann Gaelach. A high number and standard of nominations were received. The establishment of a programme of awards to recognise achievement amongst staff and students in the area of the Irish language fulfils a commitment made by Trinity College in its Language Scheme 2013-2016. Trinity College has made ambitious and wide-reaching commitments to promote the Irish language in its two language schemes and is consistently improving the Irish language services it officers to students, staff and the general public.