De­bra takes pres­ti­gious Ir­ish award

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By TADHG EVANS

THERE was dou­ble cause for cel­e­bra­tion for Mastergeehy woman De­bra Ní Shúil­leab­háin on Fri­day; not only did she grad­u­ate with a Masters in Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion, she also re­ceived the Gael Linn Gaeilge Award at a con­fer­ring cer­e­mony in the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, Dublin, in re­cent days.

Hav­ing be­gan her stud­ies with on­line third-level in­sti­tu­tion Hiber­nia Col­lege in 2016, she was among some 800 stu­dents to qual­ify in pri­mary or post-pri­mary teach­ing and cel­e­brated her grad­u­a­tion re­cently.

She teaches at Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil in Glan­mire, and as a fur­ther in­di­ca­tion of her com­mit­ment to the lan­guage, she has worked as a devel­op­ment of­fi­cer in Mun­ster’s Gaeltach­taí.

She also has an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in An Ghaeilge agus na Meáin Úra (Ir­ish and New Me­dia).

With all that con­sid­ered, she was a wor­thy win­ner of the Gael Linn prize and was in re­flec­tive mood on her jour­ney lead­ing up to her grad­u­a­tion.

“I have had teach­ing at the back of my mind for many years, and I fi­nally bit the bul­let in 2016 and ap­plied to Hiber­nia col­lege,” she said. “I have worked with young peo­ple in many ca­pac­i­ties over the past decade, and hav­ing en­joyed that ex­pe­ri­ence thor­oughly, I felt it was time to do what had been in my head for years.”

She cred­its her mother for fos­ter­ing her love of Ir­ish and fo­cused on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy in her na­tive south Kerry Gaeltacht of Uíbh Ráthach.

It strength­ened her belief that ed­u­ca­tion is key to the fu­ture of the lan­guage, par­tic­u­larly in Gaeltacht ar­eas, where the lan­guage has been par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to de­cline ac­cord­ing to re­cent cen­suses.

Now she is look­ing for­ward to com­bin­ing her loves of teach­ing and Ir­ish in times ahead.

“I am in the happy po­si­tion of hav­ing a job in Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil in County Cork, and I am thor­oughly en­joy­ing it,” she said.

“I am de­lighted to have the op­por­tu­nity to teach through Gaeilge with my fel­low teach­ers, whom are equally de­voted to Gaeilge.”

De­bra Ní Shúil­leab­háin grad­u­ated with a Masters in Pri­mary teach­ing and scooped a Gael Linn Gaeilge award.

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