First day at big school and only got the one slap
The last time I went to big school, back at Scoil Mhuire on the Glen Road in 1970 (no, they didn’t send you out to work in the mills at age 11 back then), I ended up getting slapped (both hands, leather strap) on the first day.
So it’s against that benchmark that I always assess a first day — in this case my admission into the hallowed halls of New Stormont.
And, on that measure, I did okay. I took my first selfie with Anna Lo, on the day a new report extolling the benefits of inward migration was published, and sat in on a debate on Irish medium post-primary education led by SF Minister John O’Dowd.
It was refreshing to hear a debate on Gaeilge education which places it firmly in the mainstream and looks beyond the tired old template of Irish being a non-language — Stormont tried that once before and it failed gloriously. So it’s sad to see those old prejudices being pedalled by the know nothings of the 21st Century — but as a united community which treasures its heritage our answer is simple: speak and promote Irish.
And that was that except for getting my security pass and ensuring all my mobile devices were wired up to the wi-fi gods. I did get to meet the ‘principal’ though — Sinn Féin whip Caitríona Ruane — and I did my level best to get off with no homework (old age, Champions League on TV, pencil sharpener broken) — but she sent me home with a very long ‘to-do’ list. Back in 1970, I had big brothers who were great at forging letters to get me off homework and swimming lessons (most famous: “please excuse Martin from swimming as he has a floating kidney”) at school. They could find themselves being called out of retirement.
Anois, bhí rith mhaith agam ar Chomhairle Bhéal Feirste le trí bliana anuas (agus roimhe sin idir 1987-1997). Tá mé thar a bheith buíoch de mo chomrádaithe, don fhoireann sa Chomhairle agus do mo chomh-chomhairleoirí as a gcuidiú san am sin. Tá mo leabhar ar an tréimhse a chaith mé mar ard-mhéara a chóir réidh ach cá fios nach mbeadh dialann laethúil Tionóil anseo againn fosta.