Comhrá le Piaras Ó Dochartaigh, TD
Thit an dara hócáid sa tsraith imeachtaí atá á reáchtáil mar chuid den tionscadal SPARC, ‘An Ghaeilge Bheo’, amach ar an 7 Márta. Pléadh leis an teanga Ghaelach ar bhealach éagsúil an babhta seo – seachas bheith ag éisteacht le fuaimeanna binne an cheoil Ghaelaigh, díríodh ar chúrsaí polaitíochta, agus an t-ábhar ‘Ról Theachta Dála’ idir lámha ag TD Reatha Shinn Féin, Piaras Ó Dochartaigh, atá ina urlabhraí airgeadais don pháirtí úd. Bhí sé d’ádh ag foireann SPARC go raibh an t-iriseoir polaitíochta tréitheach Harry McGee ina aoichainteoir agus agallóir ar an oíche chomh maith.
Is caint fhairsing, chuimsitheach agus shuimiúil ar thug an Dochartach. B’aoibhinn ar fad canúint Thír Chonaill a chloisteáil uaidh, agus é ag cur síos ar a chúlra, a spreag é chun dul isteach i gcúrsaí polaitíochta ar an gcéad dul síos, agus a thuairimí ar raon leathan ábhar. Ba léir go raibh gaol idir é féin agus McGee ó bheith ag plé le chéile thar na blianta – tháinig an tUasal Ó Dochartaigh chuig Teach Laighean in 2007 mar Sheanadóir agus tá sé ina Theachta Dála ón mbliain 2010 i leith. Chabhraigh an cairdeas seo leis an lucht éisteachta a chur ar a chompord.
Labhair Piaras go cumasach faoi bheith san Fhreasúra, stair a Pháirtí, stair na polaitíochta in Éirinn níos ginearálta, an chúis nach mbeadh Sinn Féin toilteanach bheith mar phártaí mionlaigh i gComhrialtas, agus eile. Músclaíodh spéis sa pholaitíocht iontu siúd a bhí sa seomra agus cuireadh cuid mhaith ceisteanna ag an deireadh faoi achan rud ó Brexit go hÉirinn Aontaithe.
Ba léir go raibh an teanga beo i rith na himeachta, cé go raibh caint ar an easpa maoinithe atá á thabhairt ag an Rialtas di. Fé mar a tharla ba é Lá na Gaeilge a bhí ann i dTeach Laighean an lá céanna, ach luaigh Ó Dochartaigh go mba mhaith leis níos mó Gaeilge a bheith á léiriú ann. É sin ráite, bhí sé rídhóchasach fosta faoin todhchaí atá i ndán don teanga, ní hamháin ina cheantar Gaeltachta féin ach fud fad na tíre – ainneoin nach bhfuil sé chomh cinnte céanna faoina mbeidh i ndán dá thodhchaí fadtéarmach féin mar pholaiteoir ba chosúil.
Ach ba léir go raibh na freagraí eolacha, murab ionann agus gnáthfhreagraí polaiteoirí, ag teacht ó fhear paiseanta agus ionraic, a chreid sa rud a bhí á rá aige. Léiríodh taispeántas leabhar polaitíochta ag an imeacht agus óstáladh fáiltiú fíona tar éis na hócáide seo, a bhí faoi stiúir Oifig na nGairmeacha, urraithe ag Oifig an Chláraitheora agus eagraithe ag Bord na Gaeilge UCD, Leabharlann UCD agus mic léinn. Bígí cinnte teacht chuig an gcaint dheireanach sa tsraith ‘An Ghaeilge Bheo’ a mbeadh téama leighis léi, agus a bheidh ar siúl ar an 5 Aibreán.
A conversation with Pearse Doherty, TD
The second event in the series of events being organised as part of the SPARC project, ‘An Ghaeilge Bheo’, took place on the 7th of March. The Irish language was addressed from a different approach this time – instead of listening to the sweet sounds of Irish music, political matters were of interest, with current Sinn Féin TD and financial spokesperson Pearse Doherty examining ‘The Role of a TD’. The SPARC team were also fortunate to have accomplished political journalist Harry McGee in attendance to chair the event and interview Doherty.
It was a wide-ranging, comprehensive and engaging talk. It was wonderful to hear Doherty’s Donegal accent, as he described his background, his motivations for getting into politics and his opinions on a plethora of topics. It was evident that himself and McGee have a rapport from dealing with each other over the years – Doherty arrived in Leinster House as a Seanadóir in 2007 and is a TD since 2010. Their friendship helped put the audience at ease from the get-go.
Pearse spoke impressively about being in the Opposition, his Party’s history, the history of Irish politics more generally, the reason that Sinn Féin would never be willing to be the smaller party in a Coalition, and much much more. An avid interest in politics was instilled in those present, with many questions being asked at the end of the event about anything and everything from Brexit to a United Ireland.
It was clear that the language was alive during the event, even though there was talk of the lack of Government funding for it. As it happened Lá na Gaeilge took place in Leinster House the same day, but O’Doherty mentioned that he would like to see more Irish demonstrated there. That said, he was extremely hopeful about the language’s future, not only in his own Gaeltacht area, but all over the country, though he wasn’t able to be as certain about what was in store for his own political career in the long-run.
But what was obvious was that his knowledgeable answers, perhaps unlike those of most politicians, came from a passionate and honest man, who believed in what he was saying. A display of political books was on show at the event and there was a wine reception hosted at its close. The event was under the direction of the Careers Centre, sponsored by the Registrar’s Office and organised by Bord na Gaeilge UCD, UCD Library staff, and students.
Be sure to come to the last talk in the ‘An Ghaeilge Bheo’ series, which will be addressing a medical theme and will take place on the 5th of April.
Dónal Ó Catháin