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Ballyvourney school reunion sparks Irish language debate

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REUNION: Former students from Colaiste Iosagain, Ballyvourney at a special past pupils reunion in Scott’s Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

 

 

By Sean Moriarty

 

Past Kerry-based pupils of Coláiste Iosagain in Ballvourney County Cork met in Killarney this week for a reunion.

 

The college, which was first opened in 1933, was purpose built to revive the Irish language in the early years of the State. The school was familiar to many people throughout Munster and further afield as an educational establishment up to its closure in 1989.

 

This week’s two day reunion was organised by former Fine Gael councillor Johnny ‘Porridge’ O'Connor and Gerard Doyle.

 

The boarding school is still a major landmark on the Cork to Killarney road, midway between Ballyvourney and Ballymakeera. While there was no official reason for the reunion, many who attended Monday’s golf classic at Dook’s Golf Club and Tuesday night’s dinner at Scott’s Hotel would have entered the school between 1959 and 1969.

[caption id="attachment_28587" align="aligncenter" width="600"] SCHOOL REUNION: Tony McSweeney, Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan, Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson and Michael Moriarty at the Colaiste Iosagain, Ballyvourney past pupils reunion in Scott's Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night. Picture: Eamonn Keogh[/caption]

 

Many of the students went on to become well-known public figures in either political or sporting circles and included Kerry football legend Mickey ‘Ned’ O’Sullivan and current Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson.

 

“The school was established to ensure high standards of fluency in Irish, many would have gone on to be teachers and this ensured that Irish was taught at a high-level in national schools,” Mayor Gleeson told the Killarney Advertiser.

 

Gleeson, a keen supporter of the Irish language, will put a motion before Kerry County Council on Monday next, asking if a Erasmus programme, similar to the one where Irish students study in Europe for a given period, could be introduced here.

 

“As the Constitution of Ireland in Article 7 states that Irish is the national language and the official language it is imperative that the primary teachers of the country have excellent oral competence to teach the language effectively,” it states in his motion. “To confirm this I am asking the Government to establish a foundation based on the Erasmus Scholarship, to the Gaeltacht for a year, for the teaching subjects."

 

 

 

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

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