An Interview with Eimear Finan – SMEDIA winner

Foras na Gaeilge was very happy to support the Smedia Awards this year, sponsoring the Journalism through Irish award. These awards recognise the high standard of journalism among students. Eimear Finan, secretary of the Irish Society in Trinity College and senior editor of The University Times, won this competition with her article, Fostaíocht san Aontas Eorpach – Iniúchadh ar Chúrsaí Dlí agus Gaeilge (Employment in the European Union – Inestigation of Law and Irish courses). This article focuses on opportunities available in Europe for those with an interest and accuracy in Irish and it asks the question why there is not a course in Law and Irish available for students in Trinity College. There is variety in Eimear’s writing, as she works with light themes as well as more serious stories, as can be seen in this article.

Although Eimear has fluent Irish, she was surprised when she saw on social media that she had won a Smedia. “I was not expecting it, I was overjoyed,” she said.

Eimear was always interested in journalism and in languages. Eimear’s mother, Mary, is an Irish teacher, and her interest in the language grew after she organised a coffee morning for friends and neighbours, encouraged by The Gathering campaign. “There were friends of mine and their parents at the house and and everyone was using the Irish they had,” she tells me about the event. “People have more Irish than they think.”

Eimear continued with Irish, attending the Gaeltacht before doing her leaving certificate and taking part in the student residency scheme at college. There were responsibilities involved with this scheme and as part of those responsibilities Eimear and friends of hers carried out activities such as organising a céilí and a Mr & Mrs competition through Irish, as well as translating the song Send Me on My Way into Irish, to be published on social media. “Irish was a special part of our life and we were happy to spread it in the university. We organised a Jailbreak as well and I was the searcher.”

Eimear spent a year in Scotland after leaving school, staying with her sister and her husband and getting work experience in a solicitor’s office. “I was really interested in law and I learned a lot during the year,” she explains. Although she is enjoying the course, she is considering what she would like to do in the future. “I haven’t decided what I would like to do in the future yet, but I will continue with Irish and writing.” Eimear has level B2 in the European Certificate in Irish, and she intends to continue with the language in other ways in the future. She is very interested in gaining a diploma in translation from King’s Inns. As she says herself, “I will be ready for working life at that point.”

Sinéad Nic Gearailt