Pictured L-R: Eibhlin Ní Mhuircheartaigh, Guidance Councellor at Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Shirley Comerford, CEO at Public Appointments Service, prize winner Daithí Ó Loinsigh, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD
Has he ever felt like a contrarian in his political career; how has being a pandemic-era Taoiseach affected him as a person; what are the long-lasting effects of his term as Minister for Education, and what unique perspective has being from Cork given him as a national leader? Those were just some of the questions Taoiseach Micheál Martin faced when he sat down to be interviewed by Kerry student Daithí Ó Loinsigh.
The transition year student from Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tralee conducted the bi-lingual interview with the Taoiseach at Leinster House as part of his prize for The Pitch – The Publicjobs.ie Schools Advertising Challenge. The competition, organised by the Public Appointments Service via its website, publicjobs.ie, challenged post-primary students to create an advertisement pitching the public sector as an attractive career pathway to their fellow students. With prizes such as an opportunity to interview the Taoiseach; a trip to an Irish Coast Guard helicopter base, and the chance to participate in a policing simulation at An Garda Síochána up for grabs, more than 100 students from across the country stepped up to the challenge, with video submissions in Irish and in English. The Kerry student received the overall prize.
Daithí spent the day exploring Leinster House, including a tour with Head Usher Alan Ruane. He visited the Dáil and the Seanad and learned about the history of Leinster House. It was originally the grand town house of the Duke of Leinster, and later belonged to the Royal Dublin Society, before being leased by Michael Collins for the new Oireachtas in 1922. Daithí was also treated to lunch in the members’ dining area, where he was joined by Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Mark Daly.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:
“I was delighted to welcome Daithí to Government Buildings and the Taoiseach’s office. He asked some very thought-provoking questions, in Irish and English, and it was encouraging to see such interest in public life from someone of his age.”
Speaking about his day, Daithí said:
“I genuinely enjoyed every second and I hope in the future – after getting a taste of it – that I can come back soon.”
Chief executive of the Public Appointments Service, Shirley Comerford said:
“There is such a variety of exciting and rewarding careers on offer in the public sector in Ireland, many of which are directly involved in supporting local and national government through the civil service. I would like to thank the Taoiseach and his team and the staff at Leinster House for working with us on this competition and for making it such a memorable experience for Daithí. It was also wonderful that Daithí had the opportunity to have lunch with Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Mark Daly.
“There are a variety of public sector jobs available on the publicjobs.ie website at the moment, across a range of industries and at locations across the country. These include roles suitable for school-leavers, graduates, career changers, and the most senior of executives. I would encourage anyone considering their career options to take a look at what a career in the public sector could offer them.”
Highlights of Daithí’s day can be viewed below: