DCU and Na Fianna form a community partnership

Aoife O'Brien

A new partnership between DCU and Glasnevin-based GAA club Na Fianna will provide DCU students with opportunities for paid partnerships, volunteering and cultural opportunities.

The seven-year community partnership was launched on October 17th and is based on the shared values of sport, healthy lifestyles, Irish language and culture. It is the first strategic partnership between a university and a GAA club in Ireland.

The agreement will provide DCU students with the opportunity for paid placements with Na Fianna, in areas of marketing, communications and sports science.

In return, the partnership will provide the club with access to playing and training facilities at DCU’s Sports Campus in St Clare’s. They will also have access to the astroturf pitch that is planned to be built on St. Patrick’s Campus in Drumcondra next year.

Despite the fact that DCU are already set to lose six astroturf pitches on the Glasnevin campus with the proposed development of seven new residential buildings, DCU students are hopeful that their training will not be interrupted by sharing the use of their sports grounds.

DCU Computer Applications student, Éamon Goonan plays with the DCU Freshers Gaelic football team. He said he is confident that Na Fianna’s use of DCU’s sports ground “will be organised in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with any existing DCU training or matches.”

“I think the work placements are an amazing way to gain relevant experience” and stays  true to DCU’s providing real world experience in fields that students are passionate about.

The partnership also includes an agreement to collaborate on the promotion and development of the Irish language.

President of DCU, Prof. Brian MacCraith  acknowledged that CLG Na Fianna is widely regarded for their commitment to promoting the Irish language and culture.

He said that they will team up with DCU’s  Irish language school, Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge which is renowned for its scholarship and programmes in the Irish language and its various initiatives employing digital technology to promote Irish language and culture.

“Our collaboration will enable links to flourish between the club and DCU’s Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge. For example, we are exploring the idea of facilitating Irish Language Certification to Na Fianna’s Irish learners,” MacCraith said.

The partnership also feeds into DCU’s strategic effort to develop a North Dublin Cultural Quarter.

DCU’s arts and cultural initiative, Anam will work closely with Na Fianna on the production and hosting of a series of events at the club.

The collaboration allows DCU to demonstrate their seriousness in addressing the University’s strategic goal to “pursue active engagement with our communities,” President MacCraith said.

Chairman of CLG NaFianna, Cormac Ó Donnchú said, “We are very excited about this new Community Partnership and we look forward to Na Fianna and DCU working together over the next seven years on a number of novel initiatives in the fields of cultural, community and sporting activities.”

Aoife O’Brien

Image credit: DCU Sport Twitter