Leinster Gaeilgeoir wins EU translating contest

A secondary school student from Kildare has been named as the Irish winner of an international translating competition organised by the European Commission.

A secondary school student from Kildare has been named as the Irish winner of an international translating competition organised by the European Commission.

17-year-old Fintan McGrath from Confey College in Leixlip was one of about 3,000 teenagers from all over Europe who took part in the annual ‘Juvenes Translatores’ contest last November. For his winning entry, Fintan successfully translated a one-page text from Irish in English within two hours.

His prize includes a three-day trip to Brussels in April along with 26 other national winners, one from each member state. The teenagers will be presented with certificates at a special awards ceremony and will also get to meet EU translators at work in the Commission.

The news coincides with the latest round of job offers for Irish translators in Brussels. The European Commission is looking for people to translate documents from Irish and other EU language into English, and the closing date for applications is 21st February.

Irish speakers interested in applying for the positions should email a cover letter and CVs in English and Irish, in the Europass format, to the following address: DGT-AT-GA-2011@ec.europa.eu.

MEPs want to bin European Parliament’s dual seat

A new report has claimed that over 90 per cent of MEPs would prefer if the European Parliament sat permanently in Brussels, rather than travelling to Strasbourg twelve times a year for its plenary sessions.

The survey published by the cross-party Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study Group also revealed that the Parliament could save €180 million every year if it ended its current two-seat arrangement, which dates back to a 30-year-old symbolic peace treaty between France and Germany. It also claimed that 317 full-time staff posts could be abolished and 19,000 tonnes of CO2 would be saved annually. Additionally, taxpayers would be spared the yearly €4 million cleaning bill for maintaining the Strasbourg seat.

The document entitled “A Tale of Two Cities” was prepared by former MEP Michiel van Hulten and researchers from the University of Zurich. It included an online attitude survey, which showed that 88 per cent of MEPs thought the historic treaty should be amended “to give Parliament the official right to decide its own Seat and place of work”.

Ireland East MEP Nessa Childers said the dual seat arrangement should be ended immediately in the interests of saving taxpayers’ money and the environment. However she recognised the economic consequences for the city of Strasbourg. “It is possible that an EU agency or university could be located in Strasbourg as a form of recompense for the local economy,” said the Labour MEP.

Irish MEPs push global TB vaccine

Irish MEPs have unanimously supported a move to make tuberculosis vaccines accessible in developing countries. A report highlighting the central role European research could play in tackling the disease worldwide was backed by an overwhelming majority of MEPs in Brussels last week.

The resolution claims that the EU could help to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal to “halt and begin to reverse the trend” of TB by 2015, if for example, the fight against TB is included in the flagship Europe 2020 Strategy. In particular, the report seeks to promote the work being carried out by Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), an EU-supported organisation that develops new vaccines with the aim of making them globally accessible.

Speaking from the European Parliament, Ireland East MEP Liam Aylward said he fully supported the call for the EU to share best practice on dealing with the bacterial disease in developing countries.

“The European Commission and member states must to do everything necessary to ensure that funds allocated to health care also reach the most impoverished people in developing countries and every is effort made to ensure that the public health services in impoverished areas are supported,” said the Fianna Fáil MEP.

Call to journalists and bloggers for annual EU contest

In the past, EU affairs were mostly covered by specialised European correspondents - journalists who lived in Brussels and knew about things like structural funding and fishing quotas. These days, the EU’s critical and controversial role at the heart of Ireland’s economic and political existence means every working Irish journalist, blogger or broadcaster has covered an EU-related story at some point in the last year. We are all EU hacks.All of which means that every Irish journalist could well be eligible to compete for the 2011 European Parliament Prize for Journalism, now in its fourth year. The annual competition awards prizes of €5,000 each in the categories of written press, radio, TV and internet. It’s open to individuals or teams of up to five people who have covered major European issues or promoted a better understanding of the EU institutions or policies.

Last year, Irish broadcaster Máirín Ní Ghadhra of Raidió na Gaeltachta was selected to compete at European level by a judging panel of Irish journalists. The news presenter compiled a radio documentary on Irish MEPs which was short-listed for a prize.

Applications for this year’s competition must be submitted before March 31. All contributions must have been published or broadcast between April 1, 2010 and March 31. More information iat www.eppj.eu.