#CéMuid: Colm Ó hArgáin
Foras na Gaeilge has begun a new campaign to introduce members of staff to the public. We would like to introduce Colm Ó hArgáin!
Role: I am working as a higher executive officer in the Education Section. I am central in the work my section completes each year on the youth schemes for summer camps and youth clubs. I deal with the Cumann na bhFiann grant, the lead organisation dealing the general area of Developing Opportunities for Irish Language and Networks for Young People.
I am responsible for the Ulster GAA project, in which an Irish language officer is employed to promote the Irish language through the GAA clubs in Ulster. Recently I developed a new scheme, the Gaeltacht Scholarships scheme, which helps around 560 people to spend a period in the Gaeltacht each year, as well as the Projects Fund, which provides funding for innovative projects which are to the benefit of the Irish language sector and community. Opportunities arise continuously, and I have worked on projects with TG4 and the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association recently for example. Of course, there is much administrative work involved in the role, for example, reports to senior management and the Foras na Gaeilge board. I am a member of the awareness working group focusing primarily on social media. I work on other awareness projects from time to time, for example, awareness campaigns, the Your Career with Irish project with Grad Ireland, the Beo competition, events at the November Oireachtas and other conferences throughout the year.
The aspect of the work do you most enjoy:
- The variety of the work.
- Being a member of a close-knit, energetic and friendly section.
- Attending events and meeting with grantees and other workers in the Irish language sector.
How does your work support the promotion of the Irish language?:
As the number of Irish medium schools and the number of pupils in the Irish medium education system increase, there is a need and demand for opportunities for the use of the Irish language for Irish-medium pupils, in school and especially outside of it. The schemes and supports from Foras na Gaeilge provide those opportunities and an infrastructure of education services is created throughout the island as a result.
Plans in your area for the future?:
- There will be a particular emphasis on initial teacher training in the south.
- The advisory role Foras na Gaeilge has in the north will be built on, to increase the number of postprimary schools in which Irish is available as an A-level subject, and to increase the number of A-level students.
- An online system for applying for grants is being developed to provide the most effective support to the Irish language community.