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26 Mar 2012

Malachy Mackin recently received the Armagh County Footballer of the Year award for his outstanding performances on the field.  In the last of a series on the Irish language, Malachy spoke to Seán Ó Maoilse, Irish language Development Officer with Cairde Teo and member of Armagh GAA Culture Committee about his pride in our nation’s first language.

Ainm: Malachy Mackin

Scoil: Scoil Ghramadaí Naomh Pádraig, Ard Mhacha
School: St Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh

Ollscoil: Cuntasaíocht – Ollscoil Uladh, Baile Mhic Shiúrtáin
University: Accountancy – University of Ulster, Jordanstown

Cad é an taithí atá agat ar an Ghaeilge?
Rinne mé Gaeilge ar an scoil, a fhad le leibhéal an GCSE. Tá fáinne airgid agam agus bhain mé an-sult as an Ghaeilge agus bhí múinteoirí maithe agam. Is trua nach bhfuil níos mó Gaeilge sa chóras oideachais anseo ó thuaidh, mar atá sa deisceart. Sílim gur chóir go ndéanfadh daltaí scoile an Ghaeilge go GCSE le go mbeidh tuiscint acu ar an Ghaeilge, nó is í ár dteanga náisiúnta í. Is trua nach bhfuil níos mó Gaeilge sna bunscoileanna nó bíonn se níos fusa teangacha a fhoghlaim ag aois óg.
What is your experience of the Irish language?
I did Irish at school up to GCSE. I have a silver fáinne and I really enjoyed Irish as we had very good teachers. It’s a shame that there is not more Irish in the education system in the north, similar to the south. I think students should do Irish up to GCSE so they can have an understanding of our national language. I’d love to see more Irish in primary schools as I believe it’s far easier to learn languages at a younger age.

An bhfuil an Ghaeilge ábhartha sa 21ú céad?
Tá teanga agus cultúr na hÉireann ábhartha ar fad. Is í an teanga an rud a thugann ár bhféiniúlacht féin dúinn nó cuireann an Ghaeilge in iúl go bhfuil muid difriúil agus go bhfuil muid bródúil mar náisiún. Caithfear béim á leagan ar an Ghaeilge ag aois óg le todhchaí na teanga a choinneáil slán. Cuidíonn na meáin le próifíl na Gaeilge agus bhí an-tionchar ag na cluichí peile agus iománaíochta ar TG4 ar thodhchaí na Gaeilge dar liom. Is féidir liom féin agus is féidir leis na mílte eile focail a phiocadh amach as an tráchtaireacht, cé go mbíonn sé deacair in amanna mar gheall ar na canúintí, ach is cinnte go gcuireann TG4 go mór le feasacht ar an teanga.
Is Irish important in the 21st century?
The Irish language and culture are as relevant today as they ever were. The language gives us our identity and it shows us that we are different from other nations and that we are proud of our history and heritage. We must place emphasis on the promotion of Irish to young people to ensure the continuing development and progress of the language. The media help to raise the profile of Irish and the football and hurling on TG4 has had a huge influence. I along with thousands of others can pick out the odd word even though it’s sometimes difficult due to the dialects, but there is no doubt that TG4 adds significantly to the level of awareness of the Irish language.

Ar cheart don CLG an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn?
Bhí an Ghaeilge lárnach sa CLG ó bunaíodh an eagraíocht agus bhí cur chun cinn na Gaeilge ar cheann de bhunphrionsabail lucht a bhunaithe. Tá Gaeilge ag neart daoine sa chumann ar fud na tíre agus thar lear. Tá an Ghaeilge chomh tábhachtach sa CLG agus atá an pheil, camógaíocht, iomanaíocht, liathróid láimhe, scór agus ceol. D’fhéadfaí rudaí beaga a dhéanamh leis an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn sna clubanna, mar shampla is féidir an Ghaeilge a úsáid sa treanáil, go háirithe sna Go Games trí liathróid a úsáid seachas ball etc. Beidh cuimhne ag páistí ar an Ghaeilge má bhíonn siad á foghlaim agus iad ag déanamh rud éigin a bhfuil dúil acu ann.
Should the GAA promote Irish?
The Irish language has been fundamental to the GAA since its establishment and the promotion of the language was a basic principle of the founding members. Many people in the association speak Irish not only in Ireland, but across the world. Irish is just as important in the GAA as football, camogie, hurling, handball, scór or music. I’d say that more could be done to promote Irish in the clubs, for example using Irish at training and particularly at Go Games by using
liathróid instead of ball etc. Children will remember the Irish if they learn it when they’re doing something they enjoy.