Students lead initiative to create Cultural Officer role

Student-led discussions are underway to have the full-time position of Cultural Officer created within the university. The brief would include special emphasis on promotion of the Irish language.

Chair of Class Rep Council, Rónán Ó’Dálaigh, who has stood aside for the duration of the USI referendum, is in talks with the university about the potential to create a role that would help all cultures be celebrated on DCU’s diverse campus.

Ó’Dálaigh feels creating the role would be benefit both the university and its students. “It would give us perspective, make us resilient and more tolerant and open-minded about diverse cultures”, he said.

Should a role be created, it’s likely the person hired would be responsible for creating awareness campaigns and hosting events, such as cultural fairs. They would also emphasise the significance of Ireland’s national language on campus.

Funding may be available from the Higher Education Authority for such activities, strengthening the likelihood of this initiative being realised.

A motion passed at last week’s Class Rep Council meeting will see the DCU SU Executive write letters to government cabinet TDs highlighting their support for the country’s native tongue.

Students present at CRC also showed their support by endorsing a DCU presence at last Saturday’s ‘Lá Mór na Gaeilge’, a gathering of Irish language enthusiasts and activists held in the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin.

Motions on this and regarding the creation of a Cultural Officer role were brought to Council by students Barra Ó’Scanláin and Caoimhe Ní Chathail.

According to Ó’Scanláin, the promotion and visibility of the Irish language in our society “is a civil rights issue, it’s not just for people to show that they’ve an interest”.

Their passion for the language was supported by DCU SU President Aaron Clogher, who told The College View “it’s important we take a strong stance on this as we have a strong Irish language community on campus, with Fiontar being a part of the academic work of the university”.

Returning Officer Jack Butterly also commented that he felt someone in this position could help bridge the gap for international students coming to study at DCU and settling into life at the university.

Sarah Bermingham

Image Credit: Caoimhe Ni Chathail

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