A Donegal woman has taken Leinster House by storm as part of her role as a TG4 intern.

Ballybofey native Laura Ní Aoidhne is working with the broadcaster as the Social Media Co-ordinator of TG4’s Molscéal.

Earlier this week she took centre stage in Leinster House and spoke with members of the Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Irish-Speaking Community to air their views and aspirations about the future of the Irish language.

The Committee is dedicated to promoting the use of Irish as a vernacular language in every aspect of Irish life.

Born and raised in the Twin Towns, Laura didn’t have a strong Irish-language influence growing up at home and attended English-medium schools for her education – St. Mary’s National School, Stranorlar and St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar.

In a tale unlike others, Laura’s grá grew when practicing for the famous scrúdú béil.

She speaks fondly of her aunt, Martina Dunleavy, a former primary school teacher of St. Mary’s National School, Stranorlar who called her every day in the months leading up to the Leaving Cert, to have a comhrá as Gaeilge in preparation for her exams.

Laura carried this new-found confidence for the language to third level education as she successfully applied for a place in the Irish-speaking accommodation in Ollscoil Mhaigh Nuad (Maynooth University) while undertaking her bachelors in Irish and Spanish.

Laura had the opportunity to meet with Donegal-born politician Senator Robbie Gallagher in Leinster house yesterday

While speaking in front of the committee Laura raised the housing crisis issue in the Gaeltacht.

Laura stated that “the housing crisis is widespread throughout the country but when we are discussing the development of the language, attention must be paid to the Gaeltacht. The future of the community depends on young people being able to live in their own area but people from the area are denied planning permission because, according to local councils, they do not have ‘local needs’. This is contrary to Government policy on language planning, as outlined in the Gaeltacht Act 2012.”

Among the TDs and senators present at the committee meeting were Catherine Connolly TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Senator Seán Kyne, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee, Aindrias Moynihan TD, Mattie McGrath TD, Mairéad Farrell TD, Donnchadha Ó Laoghaire TD, Rúairí Ó Murchú TD, Senator Rónán Mullen and Senator Fintan Warfield.

Laura Nic Aoidhne & Senator Robbie Gallagher

Laura was joined by the other interns who are working with TG4 Social Media teams.

Since 2018 TG4 has invited applications from third level graduates, or newcomers to the industry, to participate in a year-long work experience internship programme with the Irish language station.

To date up to 30 interns have come through this programme and have grasped this opportunity to gain the experience of being mentored by members of the TG4 team.

These work experience positions are available annually in TG4. This is a wonderful chance for people starting out in the audiovisual industry, who want to get hands-on, practical experience to add to the training they have already received.