After some tough talking as gaeilge, three sixth-year students from Scoil Mhuire in Cork have won the prestigious Gael Linn national debating competition, becoming the first Cork school to scoop the Irish language debating title.
Team captain Aisling Hourihan, Emma Dobson and Zoe Boland opposed the motion that the Irish people have lost their national identity. They interpreted identity as closely associated with culture, language, sport and home-grown Irish heroes with whom the nation identifies.
The team, coached by Samantha Mulcahy with help from teacher Eileen Dineen, argued convincingly, in their native tongue, the Irish still have a very strong national identity.
They were presented with the Corn An Phiarsaigh and each girl also won a cash prize. “The girls are a credit to the school and their families that they are so passionate about Irish language,” a Scoil Mhuire spokesperson said.
“It is a great honour and a credit for the school that they have become the first Cork school to win this competition.
“We are not an all-Irish language school but we do put huge emphasis on oral Irish and we are delighted to get recognition for that.”
The girls made it through to the national final after talking their way through the Munster round of competition opposing the motion ‘tá mórchinntí an rialtais seo ar leas an náisiúin’ — that this Government’s major decisions are benefiting the nation — and defeating Presentation College, The Mardyke, Cork, Pobalscoil Eoin Baiste, Hospital, Co Limerick, and Laurel Hill Secondary School, Limerick.