DCUSU Oifigeach na Gaeilge candidate Caoimhe Ní Chonghaile: Gaeilge on campus, no Gaeltacht fees for students and accessible Gaeilge for all

By Lucy Mangan

Caoimhe Ni Chonghaile is a second year B.Ed student who is the sole candidate running for the position of Irish Language Officer on next years DCUSU.

Caoimhe has plans to make Irish an integral part of campus life on all three campuses of DCU by including at least one Irish event per SU ran event week, using her position on the Coiste Gnó Chonradh na Gaeilge to help the SU devise a campaign to eliminate the Gaeltacht fees for student teachers and to introduce a Bál Gaelach. Another initiative she hopes to start is that of a Gaelchárta, to be used on the Glasnevin and Drumcondra campus.

The Gaelchárta will be similar to the discount card of Conradh na Gaeilge, and will apply to the are predominantly surrounding the campuses, citing places such as The Ivy House. Caoimhe hopes that by having the discount card in your wallet, it will make people think of Irish more often. “I think it would make Irish a little more visible in a kind of cool way, that’s actually practical.”

When asked by The College View what inspired her to run, Caoimhe responded that her involvement with the Cumman Gaelach scoiety has helped her notice “a great passion for Irish in DCU, particularly on Pat’s campus, but on the Glasnevin campus as well and I know that we could increase that in Glasnevin campus because I know some of the Irish courses were changed to the All Hallow’s campus and the Pat’s so I think that needs to be rejuvenated on the Glasnevin campus.”

Caoimhe also mentioned that her presence on campus will help her to succeed in the role. She is currently the Events Officer on St Pat’s for Cumann Gaelach and is the self-acclaimed ‘Gaelgal’ on the St. Patrick’s campus. “In relation to the Cumann Gaelach, we’ve had an excellent year, I’m quite well-known on this campus for organising these type of events, I’m kind of the Gaelgal, people know me for promoting Irish within the college.”

In her manifesto, Caoimhe also mentions how continuing her work with the Cumann Gaelach will influence her in the position next year. “I will work alongside An Cumann Gaelach and Scéim Chónaithe Labhairt na Gaeilge to ensure the development of a positive and effective working relationship and regular events as Gaeilge across the various campuses.”

The College View also asked Caoimhe which project she is most passionate about and how much of her time will be spent on said project. “What I’m most passionate about is incorporating Irish into the regular SU events, such as Shag Week, Mental Health Awareness Week, Helping Hands week, all of this kind of things. I think it’s important that Irish is seen within those events, that it’s more normalised and it’s not just something we put aside for Seachtain na Gaeilge and that’s it.”

Irish Language Officer is just one of a handful of SU positions that are being run uncontested this year, including VP for Academic Affairs, but when asked how she felt on the matter Caoimhe responded that “the fact that I’m on teaching practice, it’s kind of no harm but obviously I would rather that I were contested because it would mean that more people wanted to run for the position, I suppose it is a pity in a way. Hopefully, next year if I do a good job more people will want to run for it.”

Lucy Mangan