The partnership between Dublin City University and Na Fianna GAA club reflects on the shared values of both when it comes to sport, Irish language, culture and healthy lifestyles.
DCU President Brian MacCraith made this observation at an event to officially mark a seven-year agreement between the University and the Glasnevin GAA club, located on Mobhi Road.
Prof MacCraith said this is the first partnership of its type between a third level institution and a GAA club.
“Clearly, this is a partnership that builds on shared interests, shared values and shared commitments: to sport, to the promotion of healthy lifestyles, and to Irish language and Culture,” he said.
The collaboration allows DCU to demonstrate their seriousness in addressing the University’s strategic goal to “pursue active engagement with our communities”, Prof MacCraith said.
“DCU has always been the antithesis of the ‘ivory tower’ university. We have always aspired to be not just in the community, but of the community, and with the community. After 40 years in the neighbourhood, we’re no longer blow-ins,” he added.
Prof MacCraith said the DCU is proud of its GAA pedigree, adding this year’s record-breaking five-in-row All-Ireland winning Dublin team featured a number of DCU students and alumni including Na Fianna’s Jonny Cooper, as was the three-in-row Dublin Ladies’ team.
Eight out of the last nine captains of the winning All Ireland Men’s Senior Football teams have been DCU students or recent graduates, he said.
The seven year agreement will give Na Fianna access to playing pitches and training facilities in the University’s Glasnevin and St Patrick’s campuses.
“This is very much a mutually beneficial agreement. DCU is delighted to share its facilities and expertise with Na Fianna, while the club is offering our students valuable volunteering, internship and cultural opportunities,” Prof MacCraith said.
The agreement will also see paid work placements for DCU students with Na Fianna, in areas of marketing, communications and Sports Science. DCU students will also have the opportunity to get involved in the club as coaches and in other roles.
The promotion of Irish language and culture also feature in the agreement.
“Na Fianna are, rightly, highly regarded for the promotion of the Irish language and culture. Our collaboration will enable links to flourish between the club and DCU’s Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge. For example, we are exploring the idea of facilitating Irish Language Certification to Na Fianna’s Irish learners.
“There’s also an opportunity for DCU’s Trad Soc to engage with Na Fianna’s regular traditional music sessions, and for collaborations with DCU’s Anam programme of arts and culture events. I’m glad to say that this aspect of the partnership feeds into DCU’s strategic effort to develop a North Dublin Cultural Quarter.”
Addressing the launch, Na Fianna Chairman Cormac O’Donnchu said the club has more than 3,000 members across 175 teams in six sporting codes “and a multitude of cultural and community events to boot”.
He described the club and their "neighbours" DCU as two of the most high profile community actors in North Dublin.
“We get to celebrate and formalise a mechanism in common with DCU where we can jointly promote our shared values of a promoting a culture of healthy community positive engagement," said Mr O'Donnchu.
“It’s been a wonderfully supportive journey to come through and we’re lucky to have such neighbours and support, particularly with President Brian MacCraith.
“And it’s their ongoing support of our cultural sporting and community endeavours for our volunteer community that’s been most important.
“While many large institutions, both private and State institutions, speak very very often of their corporate and cultural values, in this partnership tonight, DCU don’t speak. They demonstrate their actions speak far louder than words.”
Mr O'Donnchu said they are looking foward to the next seven years working with DCU.
Guests at the event included TDs Roisin Shortall and Noel Rock, Cllrs Mary Fitzpatrikck, Joe Costello and Marie Sherlock, GAA President John Horan and broadcaster Shane Coleman.