Aodán Mac Póilin (1948-2016)

​Ag deireadh 2016, cailleadh Aodán Mac Póilin, a bhí ina Stiúrthóir ar Iontaobhas ULTACH ó bunaíodh é in 1990. Ba mhór an chaill é ag a theaghlach, a chairde agus a chomhghleacaithe. Rinne pobal na Gaeilge agus an pobal i gcoitinne a imeacht a chomóradh. Labhair daoine faoina mhisneach agus a mhacántacht, faoin fhís straitéiseach a bhí aige, a cheannródaíocht maidir le hobair trasphobail, an saineolas a bhí aige thar réimse leathan ábhair, an bhua a bhí aige maidir le cur i láthair a dhéanamh ar dhóigh tharraingteach shultmhar agus an sú agus an sult a bhain sé féin as an tsaol.

​Ba é Aodán, mar Stiúrthóir ar an Iontaobhas, a chur dúshraith faoi bhunús na hoibre maidir le rannpháirtíocht thrasphobail sna luath nóchaidí. Ba bhileog ar stair na bProtastúnach agus an Ghaeilge an chead fhoilseachán uaidh. Thuig sé an riachtanas a bhí ann castáil le grúpaí ar an talamh, eolas cruinn soiléir a chuir ar fáil agus spás a thabhairt do dhaoine a theacht chuig an teanga ar a dtéarmaí féin. Le linn a shaol oibre, threoraigh an prionsabal "go bhfuil an teanga, agus gur chóir go bhfeicfí go mbeadh sí, mar oidhreacht choiteann ag gach duine sa tsochaí seo, and gur chóir go mbeadh sí ar fáil ag aon duine a chuirfeadh suim inti."

​Ba abhcóide paiseanta deisbhéalach é don teanga. Sna nóchaidí, bhí ionchur suntasach ag an Iontaobhas i bhfás an Ghaeoloideachais, tríd mhaoiniú dhíreach a thabhairt do scoileanna, cuid acu a bhí i mbaol á ndruidte, agus tríd thacaíocht a thabhairt do scoileanna eile san dóigh is gur shroich siad na critéir inmharthanach. Rinne Aodán an cás don tumoideachas leis an Roinn Oideachais ar dhóigh gurbh dheacair á shéanadh nó a dhiúltú.

Faoina stiúir, bhí ról lárnach ag an Iontaobhas i bhfeabhsú soláthair maidir leis na healaíona agus craoltóireacht na Gaeilge. Is é a bhí fadcheannach, mar shampla, rinne sé stocaireacht le cinntiú go mbeadh TG4, i gcuideachta RTÉ 1 agus 2, san áireamh nuair a tháinig an tseirbhís chábla NTL chun an tuaiscirt den chead uair sna nóchaidí. Rinne sé an cás le treisiú a dhéanamh ar an chomórtha trastíre le feabhas a chur ar fháil TG4 ó thuaidh, agus san am cheana, thuig sé go raibh cás le déanamh le háit TG4 a chinntiú ar an speictream digiteach san dóigh is go mbeadh an cainéal ar fáil ó thuaidh san a bhí le teacht. Anuas ar sin, chuir sé ina luí ar DCAL cúrsa traenála teilifíse a reáchtáil le traenálaithe a chur ar fáil d’earnáil chraoltóireachta na Gaeilge nárbh ann di ag an phointe sin. Ó cailleadh é, tá aitheantas leitheadach tugtha don ról lárnach a d’imir sé maidir le Ciste Craoltóireachta na Gaeilge a chinntiú. Tugadh aitheantas chomh maith d’ionchur straitéiseach an Iontaobhais maidir le forbairt earnáil léiriúcháin na Gaeilge, an t-ionchur bhreise de £3 mhilliún sa bhliain sa gheilleagar áitiúil agus an leathmhilliún breise sa bhliain de chaiteachas ar chláracha Gaeilge ón BBC. Labharadh chomh maith, faoin iliomad ionchur a bhí aige maidir le ról sheirbhís phoiblí an BBC i dtaca le pobal na Gaeilge.

Rinne Aodán ionadaíocht thar ceann an Iontaobhais ar réimse leathan eagras. Bhí sé gníomhach i mBiúró na dTeangacha Neamhfhorleathana agus sa Chomhairle Chaidrimh Pobail agus ba chathaoirleach é ar Chomhairle na Gaelscolaíochta agus Chiste Chraoltóireachta na Gaeilge. Shuigh sé ar bhoird Fhoras an Gaeilge, Cholmcille, Chultúir na hÉireann, Scáileán Thuaisceart Éireann, Chomhairle Chraoltóireachta Thuaisceart Éireann agus Ionad Shéamuis Heaney, Ollscoil na Ríona.

Scríobh sé agus rinne sé cur i láthair ar ghnéithe éagsúla den teanga, na litríochta agus an chultúir. Chuir sé eagar air Styles of Belonging: the Cultural Identities of Ulster (1992), Ruined Pages, New Selected Poems of Padraic Fiacc (1994), The Irish Language in Northern Ireland (1997), agus ba bhall é ar phainéal eagarthóireachta Leabhar Mór na Gáidhlig (2002) agus rinne sé comh-eagarthóireacht ar Bás in Éirinn (2012). Ba aistritheoir léannta é ar litríocht na Gaeilge, go háirithe obair mhórfhilí Ghaeilge na tíre seo.

Le linn a shaol oibre, scríobh Aodán altanna d’irisleabhair acadúla, irisí, leabhair agus na meáin áitiúla. Tá an tIontaobhas ag ullmhú bailiúcháin dá chuid saothair ar an chultúr agus an teanga.

Aodán Mac Póilin (1948-2016)

Aodán Mac Póilin, Director of ULTACH Trust since its formation in 1990, passed away in December 2016. His passing was a great loss to his family, friends and colleagues. It was marked by the Irish language community and the community at large. Many spoke of his courage and integrity, his strategic vision, his pioneering approach to cross-community engagement, his expertise across a wide range of interests, his great facility to make presentations interesting and entertaining, and his abiding sense of enjoyment and fun.

Aodán, as Director of the Trust, laid much of the groundwork for cross-community engagement in the early 1990s. His first publication for the Trust was a pamphlet outlining the history of Protestant involvement in the language. He understood the need to meet with groups on the ground, to provide accurate and accessible information, and the space for people to engage with language on their own terms. His working life was guided by the principle “that the language is, should be seen as, the common heritage of anyone in this society, and should be accessible to anyone who wishes to engage with it.”

He was a passionate and articulate advocate for the Irish language. In the 1990s, the Trust made a significant contribution to the growth of Irish-medium education, through directly funding schools, many of which were on the brink of closure, and supporting others until they reached viability criteria. Aodán made the case for Irish-medium education to the Department of Education in a way that was difficult to ignore or reject.

​Under his leadership, the Trust also played a critical role in improving provision for the arts and in television broadcasting. Aodan’s prescience, led, for example, to early lobbying for the inclusion of TG4, along with RTÉ 1 and 2, on the fledgling NTL cable services which were being introduced in the early 90s. He argued for better terrestrial access to TG4 through boosting transmitter signals, while also understanding that a case had to be made for TG4’s position on the digital spectrum to future-proof access to the channel. Later, he made the case to DCAL to run a television training course which would provide trainees to serve a future Irish language broadcasting sector. Since his passing, it has been widely acknowledged that he played a key role in securing the Irish language broadcast fund. There is also recognition that the Trust’s strategic interventions led to the establishment of an Irish language production sector, the injection of an additional £3 million per annum into the local economy and an additional half million per annum of BBC expenditure on Irish language programming. Many have also pointed to Aodán’s many interventions on the issue of the BBC’s public service provision for the Irish language community.

Aodán represented the Trust on a wide range of organisations. He was active in the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages and the Community Relations Council, was chair of the first Irish-medium school in Northern Ireland, Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (the Council for Irish-medium Education) and the Irish Language BroadcastingFund. He sat on the boards of Foras na Gaeilge (the cross-border Irish language implementation body), the Columba Initiative (now Colmcille), Cultures of Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, the Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland, and the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast.

He wrote and lectured extensively on various aspects of the Irish language, literature and culture. He edited Styles of Belonging: the Cultural Identities of Ulster (1992), Ruined Pages, New Selected Poems of Padraic Fiacc (1994), The Irish Language in Northern Ireland (1997), and was a member of the editorial panel of The Great Book of Gaelic (2002) and co-edited Bás in Éirinn (2012). He was also a highly accomplished translator of Irish language literature, in particular the poetry of leading Irish language poets.

Aodán contributed many articles to academic journals, magazine, books and the local press during his career. A collection of his essays on language and cultural issues is being prepared by the Trust.

 
This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now