Presenting the future of the Irish language

By William O'Connor

OVER 700 pupils, from both primary and secondary schools, gathered last week at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin to attend the Gaelbhratach presentation.

Local schools at the presentation were Pobalscoil Naomh Mharcais – Tallaght, Scoil Mhuire (Our Lady’s School ) Terenure, Pobalscoil Naomh Colmcille Cnoc Lín and (St John’s College) Ballyfermot.

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The Gaelbhratach scheme, under the direction of Gael Linn and with the support of Foras na Gaeilge and Conradh na Gaeilge, recognises the promotion of the Irish language in both secondary and primary schools around the country.

“We are not the future of the Irish language,” said today’s special guest, the television and radio presenter, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, referring to herself and representatives from the Irish bodies in attendance. “You, the youth of the country, are the future of the Irish language. It belongs to you, not to us.”

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The Gaelbhratach scheme, initiated in 2014 has gone from strength to strength. Nearly a hundred schools are now partaking in the scheme and this year’s event recognised the Irish language achievements of 60 schools.

Seán Ó Coinn, Deputy CEO of Foras na Gaeilge and Antoine Ó Coileáin, CEO of Gael Linn, also spoke to those in attendance with regard to the importance of young people in the promotion of Irish. Both see the scheme’s growth in recent years as a sign of hope for the language’s future.

Eoghan Mac Dermott, from 2FM, presented the event for the second year running and had the crowd dancing to the group Scannal who provided musical entertainment at today’s event. Sibéal Ní Chasaide also deserves special mention for her spell-binding rendition of Mise Éire.

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