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MONSIGNOR LIAM MAC AN tSAGAIRT

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MONSIGNOR LIAM MAC AN tSAGAIRT Powered By Docstoc
					   MONSIGNOR LIAM MAC AN tSAGAIRT

      HONORARY DOCTORATE OF THE
              UNIVERSITY
       COLERAINE, OCTOBER 26, 2005

                      Address by
            Professor Séamus Mac Mathúna




ACTING VICE-CHANCELLOR,                        A    LEAS-
SEANSAILÉIR GHNÍOMHAIGH,

Monsignor Liam Mac an tSagairt is a distinguished cleric
and educationalist who has promoted Irish language and
culture for over half a century. He is involved in many
ecclesiastic, educational and cultural organisations, and has
worked tirelessly to create a just and morally stable society
of well-educated and fair-minded citizens with a rich and
invigorating culture and tradition.

Born in Dundalk, County Louth, he is the eldest of a family
of four boys and one girl. His parents, Bernard and
Isobella, were well-known shopkeepers in the town. Liam
received his early education through the medium of Irish at
Scoil na mBráithre, the Christian Brothers, and this training
and background were to have a major influence on the
course of his future life. After Junior Certificate, he
transferred to St Patrick’s College, Armagh, where he spent
two years in the Junior Seminary before proceeding to
Maynooth to become a priest.

Majoring in Celtic Studies, he was greatly influenced by
the legendary Fr. Donnchadh Ó Floinn. The training he
received there under the direction of Fr. Donnchadh
deepened his appreciation of the Gaelic tradition and
convinced him of the importance of the living language.
Following his ordination in 1953, he was appointed to St
Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, where he taught Latin,
English and Irish.

Monsignor Mac an tSagairt is a man of genuine nobility
and natural authority. As a young schoolboy, I was struck
by his dignity, reserve, and imposing presence. I remember
his close attention to attaining the highest standards of
academic and artistic achievement, and his insistence on
respectful and civilised behaviour. He sought to create an
environment in which the great powerful human forces of
imagination and freedom were tempered by fundamental
moral and religious principles. It was he, who shortly after
his appointment to the principalship of the Academy in
1961, coined the School’s motto, namely, recta sapere ‘to
relish the proper thing’/‘to get your priorities right’. His
period of governance, which lasted nearly 25 years until
1984, was marked by many notable achievements, not least
of which was the construction of a new and greatly
enlarged school premises.
When he arrived in Dungannon, he took a keen interest in
the promotion of Irish Drama, both in school and in the
community. A member of the Committee of Féile
Drámaíochta Dhún Geanainn, in his early years in
Dungannon, he produced and directed a play each year at
the Academy, winning many awards for his work. One of
the funniest and most successful had as its theme the
accidental arrival of an Orangeman in the Irish-speaking
‘Land of Youth’, Thompson in Tír na nÓg, and the
interaction between himself and the inhabitants of this
strange land. There is still much to learn from this fine
work.

Further work in the promotion of Irish language and
culture is reflected in his important role as President of
Teileann Irish College between 1955 and 1984. Under his
leadership, the College has had a great influence in the
transmission of Irish culture and the teaching of the
language to young students from Northern Ireland. He
continues to the present day to act as Chairman of the
Management Committee. On a personal note, you may
have noticed amongst our books a copy of Graiméar
Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí. I was awarded this book as
a prize at Teelin in 1961 and it is inscribed and dated by
our honarary graduand. It is one of my treasured
possessions.

In the late 1960s, the Monsignor became involved with
Éigse Oirialla, the Festival of Oriel. Oriel includes South
Armagh, Louth and the surrounding areas. It is his home
territory and it has a justly renowned literary tradition. He
takes great satisfaction, I believe, from his involvement
with the Committee of the Éigse over many years, and the
fact that it fulfilled its aim of publishing the Proceedings of
the various Éigse, from Breandán Ó Buachalla’s edition of
Peadar Ó Dorinín’s work to our own Dr Diarmaid Ó
Doibhlin’s book on Nioclás Ó Cearnaigh.

Monsignor Mac an tSagairt is a former President of
Oireachtas na Gaeilge and has been President of Comhaltas
Uladh on two occasions. In the 1970s, he also became
Chairman of the Management Committee of An tUltach,
the oldest monthly Irish-language magazine which has been
published without a break since it was founded in 1924 by
Fr. Larry Murray.

Monsignor Mac an tSagairt was Parish Priest of Coalisland
between 1984 and 1994 when he was appointed Parish
Priest of Dungannon and Vicar- General of the Diocese of
Armagh. He is a member of the Council for Catholic
Maintained Schools, and member of the Boards of
Governors of St Patricks Academy, Dungannon, and St
Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh.

The Vicar-General is the highest official of a diocese and
he exercises episcopal jurisdiction in the name of the
bishop. According to the Catholic Encylcopaedia, he
should be of legitimate birth, tonsured, and celibate. He
should be commendable for the probity of his life, his
prudence, and his knowledge of canon law. While the
Monsignor no doubt meets most of these criteria, he was
clearly given a pass in respect of the tonsure, as he has
always had to my knowledge a very fine head of hair.

Monsignor Mac an tSagairt neither actively seeks the
limelight nor expects any accolades. He has, however, in a
quiet, dignified and efficient manner, achieved over many
years much to celebrate in the fields of education, religion
and Irish culture and he is truly deserving of the honour
bestowed upon him today.


A Leas-Seansailéir Ghníomhaigh,

Cléireach agus oideachasóir is ea an Monsignor Liam Mac
an tSagairt a bhfuil a shaol caite aige ag obair ar son na
Gaeilge agus an chultúir Ghaelaigh. Tá baint aige le cuid
mhór eagraíochtaí, idir eagraíochtaí eaglasta, oideachais
agus cultúir agus oibríonn sé gan stad chun pobal
seasmhach morálta a chruthú a bhfuil fréamhacha daingine
buana aige.

Rugadh an tAthair Liam i nDún Dealgan agus is ansin a
fuair sé a chuid scolaíochta i dtús a shaoil. Chuaigh a
theaghlach, agus luachanna beatha a athar agus a mháthar,
go mór i bhfeidhm air. Thug sé na luachanna sin leis, rud a
sheas leis i rith a shaoil. Chuir sé spéis sa Ghaeilge agus é
ar scoil agus nuair a chuaigh sé go Maigh Nuad rinne sé
céim sa Cheiltis faoin Athair Donnchadh Ó Floinn.

Is duine uasal staidéartha an Monsignor Liam, duine gur
féidir a bheith ag brath air i gcónaí, fear láidir díreach
fírinneach. Ón uair a ceapadh é mar Uachtarán ar Acadamh
na mBuachaillí i nDún Geanainn i 1961, tá sé ar a dhícheall
ag iarraidh daoine óga a ullmhú don saol agus do na
hathraíocha móra guagacha atá ag tarlú inár dtimpeall. Ní
híontas gurbh eisean a cheap manadh na scoile recta sapere
‘an rud cóir a dhéanamh’. D’oibir sé in éineacht le
comhleacaithe den scoith ar feadh na mblianta, daoine atá i
ndiaidh a dhul i bhfeidhm go mór ar shochaí na hÉireann,
leithéidí an tAthair Dennis Faul.

Iar-Uachtarán Chomhaltas Uladh ar feadh dhá thréimhse
éagsúla, Iar-Uachtarán Oireachtas na Gaeilge agus Coláiste
Theilinn, chaith sé 10 mbliana mar shagart paróiste in
Oileán an Ghuail sular ceapadh é mar shagart paróiste i
nDún Geanainn agus ina Bhiocáire-Ghinearál ar dheoise
Ard Mhacha.

Ta cion fir déanta ag an Moinsíneoir ar son teanga,
litríocht, agus cultúr na Gaeilge – drámaíocht na Gaeilge,
coláistí samhraidh, an tUltach agus araile. Ag deireadh na
seascaidí, mar shampla, thosaigh sé ag ple le hÉigse
Oirialla. Ceantar mór léinn agus litríochta ba ea Oirialla
thar na céadta bliain agus bhi sé mar aidhm ag an Coiste na
hÉigse cuid de shaibhreas na hoidhreachta sin a chur ar fáil
don phobal. Tá a fhios agam gur ábhar mór sásaimh don
Moinsíneoir é gur foilsíodh imeachtaí éagsúla na Féile, ón
staidéar a rinne an tOllamh Breandán Ó Buachalla ar
Pheadar Ó Doirnín go saothar an Dr Diarmaid Ó Doibhlin,
duine lárnach de chuid fhoireann na Gaeilge san Ollscoil
anseo, ar Nioclás Ó Cearnaigh.
Ní duine é an Moinsíneoir Liam a théann amach a chuartú
gradaim agus onóracha. Oibríonn sé go ciúin leanúnach ar
son na Gaeilge agus na daonnachta in Éirinn agus is cinnte
go bhfuil an gradam seo tuillte go maith aige inniu.

A Leas-Seansailéir Ghníomhaigh, in ainm an tSeanaid,
cuirim Liam Mac an tSagairt i láthair don chéim oinigh,
Dochtúir le Léann.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I
present Liam Mac an tSagairt for the honorary degree
of Doctor of Letters.

				
Jun Wang Jun Wang Dr
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