THE COST of holding Seachtain na Gaeilge was not revealed by Students’ Union (SU) President Aodhán Ó Deá when asked by The University Observer. Seachtain na Gaeilge, an event which was run in conjunction with An Cumann Gaelach, was organised to help spread awareness of the Irish language on campus and encouraging students to speak it.
For the cost of €15, students received a hooded jumper and entry into all Seachtain na Gaeilge events, including concerts by Kíla and The Coronas. Anything raised in sponsorship for speaking Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge was donated to the Irish charity, Bothar.
Despite the fact that the cost of the events alone totalled over €15, Mr Ó Deá maintains that the week was a success. SU Irish Language Officer, Donal Hanratty stated that “most people have gone over the €15 amount and have managed to raise more.” Both Mr Ó Deá and Mr Hanratty maintain that €15 covered the cost of both the hooded jumpers and the events, despite the fact that the entry fee to the events totalled over €15 alone.
Mr Hanratty said “our main aim was to capture the imagination of students and engage students of all abilities in the Irish language.” He maintained that the week was not a drain on SU finances, citing sponsorship as a source of funds for the event. He explained that “many people were interested in offering sponsorship. Radio na Gaeltachta wanted exclusive sponsorship so its been very well supported.”
When asked about SU funding toward Seachtain na Gaeilge, Hanratty admitted some SU money had gone toward the event but that “the amount that the SU paid wouldn’t be more than the finances provided by other sources.” In addition to their funding from the SU, Seachtain na Gaeilge received funds from Bord na Gaeilge and An Cumann Gaelach.
When asked for exact figures on both funding and money raised for charity, both Mr Ó Deá and Mr Hanratty were reluctant to reveal the final amounts. However, Ó Deá was quick to point out that “I spent more on my Seachtain na Gaeilge than Donal did on his.”
Mr Ó Deá speculated that the cost of Seachtain na Gaeilge was “not much. Definitely less than two or three thousand euro.” He also emphasised that other SU Executive Officers, for example, the Environmental Officer and Women’s Officer, will receive equal support from the SU in their respective campaign weeks.
He stated that “Donal came to me with the No Béarla campaign and it’s definitely one that’s a runner, and any campaign that any other officer comes to me with, I haven’t rejected any so far.” The next executive campaign week is due to be the LGBT Rainbow Week which will be held at the end of February.