Fifth year Coláiste Lú student Rónán Ó Coigligh celebrated a triumphant win on Tuesday 17th April when he was awarded first place in his category in the national final of ‘Abair’. Students from a myriad of secondary schools including the Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School, Newry, St. Patricks Academy, Dungannon, Sacred Heart School, Belfast and Corpus Christi Secondary school, Belfast competed in this competition, and spoke on a wide range of controversial topics ‘as Gaeilge’ from the implications of Brexit for the Irish people to the struggles of young people regarding mental health. Rónán Ó Coigligh bowled the judges over with his passionate speech titled ‘Sábháilteacht na scoláirí sna Stáit Aontaithe’ (Student safety in the USA). Rónán spoke for four minutes on the gun laws in America, and delivered a heartfelt speech to a crowded room in the Seamus Heaney Home Place, Bellaghy, Co. Derry outlining his opinions regarding the extreme measures taken by Donald Trump to promote safety in schools in America. The judges commended Rónán on an outstanding speech, and praised his creativity, use of dry wit, and exceptional standard of Irish. His final words in which he offered advice to Donald Trump resonated with all three judges, and even received a special affirmation from Gael Linn CEO Antaine Ó Coileáin: ‘Éist leis na daoine óga. Is 20% den daonra iad, ach is 100% den todhchaí iad.’ (Listen to the young people. They make up 20% of the population, but 100% of the future). Rónán’s Irish teacher and tutor Neasa Ní Chonluain was delighted with this fantastic achievement for Rónán and for Coláiste Lú, and the exciting news reached Dundalk long before their arrival back to the school! Rónán Ó Coigligh, in his interview with ‘Meon eile’, the Irish language news platform discussed the reasons for choosing the much discussed topic of gun laws in America. He explained that he has a keen interest in current affairs, especially regarding issues affecting the youth of today. He spoke of his passion for the Irish language, Irish debating and public speaking.
Ellen Ní Neachtain, also a fifth year student in Coláiste Lú delivered a powerful speech on the everyday struggles facing people in Palestine. Ellen was commended by the judges on a very convincing and effective speech.
Comhghairdeas le Rónán agus le Ellen.