We Need Your Help (Tá bhur gcuidiú de dhíth orainn)

A visual representation of Irish Gaelic Speakers in NI. Photo Source: @UKLANGUAGEMAPPING

Aodhán Ó Baoill, Opinions Editor.

Many of you have hopefully read an article I wrote recently about Queen’s Students Union Counsellors approving an amendment to the Constitution of the Union to create a new role for an Irish Language Officer within the union. Or, if you didn’t see the article, you will have at least heard about the proposed change to the constitution or read about it online. The decision of the Counsellors to vote in favour of creating this new role was massive for Gaeilgeoirí within Queen’s. We now had a voice, representation, and recognition in our Union.

However, the counsellors are not the only ones with a say in the outcome of this proposition. A change to the Constitution of the Union requires a student wide referendum. The student voice must be heard. An Irish Language Officer is necessary AND desired, and not just by Gaeilgeoirí, but by those who believe in equality and in equal representation for all.

On the 10th December 2018, the polls on Queen’s Online (QOL) will be opened to all students, to vote on whether Queen’s Students Union should create the role of an Irish Language Officer. We need your help. The Counsellors have done their work. It is up to us, as students now, to follow it through. We have a real chance here to create a lasting legacy at Queen’s. The creation of such a role within the Union would ensure that the rights of Irish speakers are protected within the Union in the future. Get online and get voting. Support the rights of Gaeilgeoirí, your fellow students, within our university.

Universities are one of the great bastions of free thought. At university, we are actively encouraged to open our minds and embrace new ideas, to push boundaries and challenge traditional thinking. It is at institutions like Queen’s that young people like us begin to formulate and shape the world that we live in. And it is in this regard that Gaeilgeoirí, and An Cumann Gaelach Ollscoil na Ríona, need you.

It’s often forgotten that we, the students, are the lifeblood and heartbeat of the university. Without us, the university would not and could not survive. Our voice and our role within the university is huge and will no longer be ignored. Irish speakers deserve representation, rights and recognition in our university, and we Gaeilgeoirí need you, our fellow students, to give us your full support in our campaign for what we deserve.

The Latin phrase Carpe Diem means ‘Seize the day’. In Irish this translates as tapaigh an deis. The crux of this phrase is to grasp every opportunity presented to us with open arms. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. So many people – An Cumann Gaelach, Grian Ní Dhaimhín, Gaeilgeoirí i mBéal Feirste – have fought for the rights of Irish speakers at Queen’s for so long, and have dreamt of the day where we will finally be represented. Why should we not be represented? Why can we not be represented? We are so close to achieving something massive, all we need is one more push.

Caith do vóta, bí an t-athrú gur maith leat a fheicáil. Tapaigh an deis.

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