19th October 2009
A group of Gaelic speaking teenagers visited Derry, Northern Ireland as part of the annual international Fòram Cainte ‘Ri Cheile’ organised by Comunn na Gàidhlig in Scotland and Gael Linn in Ireland.
Pupils came from different areas in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and were joined by pupils from Glasgow, Stornoway-Isle of Lewis, Cumbernauld-North Lanarkshire, Tain and Inverness. Over and above the debate they visited Derry Guild Hall where they met with Mayor Paul Flemming, had a walking tour of the Derry Walls and also took a trip out to the Giant’s Causeway.
Caitlin Smith, Millburn Academy, Inverness was the overall winner, with Eilis Ní Bhraonáin Falcarragh Community School coming first for Ireland and Mairead NicLeòid, Nicolson Institute, Isle of Lewis coming first for Scotland.
Donald MacDonald, Chair of CnaG, said: “CnaG is delighted to be supporting this event in partnership with Gael Linn. Ri Chèile is important for the linking of the two language communities. It provides an opportunity for young Gaelic speakers to develop their language skills through their preparation for and participation in the debate, which covers a number of topical issues. We were also very pleased with how well the Scottish pupils performed in this year’s competition and we hope that success continues in future years”.
According to Catriona MacPhee, teacher of Millburn Academy , “This was a great opportunity for the scholars that took part. Not only that it gave them confidence to speak publically but it gave them the opportunity to travel to another country, meeting up with other scholars and learning about the history of the area they visited. In every way an good out of class learning experience. I was so proud of all scholars but it crowned the trip when one of our own scholars won.
Topics covered this year were ‘Should Scotland be an independent country’, ‘Football – A matter of life and death?’, ‘Animal Cruelty’, and ‘Health in Scotland’.