Wide range of motions to be discussed as delegates converge from across Ireland and further afield
The 2019 Conradh na Gaeilge Ard-Fheis will take place this weekend (22-24 Feb.) in the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan with delegates and guests ready to debate and discuss the main challenges and opportunities facing the Irish language and the Gaeltacht in the year ahead.
Friday night (23 Feb.) will set the scene for the weekend and Conradh na Gaeilge will welcome senior political representatives from a range of parties, north and south, to an Irish language political seminar. The theme of this year’s Ard-Fheis ‘A Language without Boundaries’ will be discussed by Aengus Ó Snodaigh, TD, Sinn Féin, Catherine Connolly, TD, Ind., Dara Calleary, TD, Fianna Fáil, Patsy McGlone, SDLP, and Seán Kyne, TD, Fine Gael, Minister of State for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands and Government Chief Whip. Gráinne McElwain from TG4 will chair the debate and branches of Conradh na Gaeilge will direct the discussion through questions and comments throughout. This event is open for all and is free of charge.
Saturday morning will see branches and members of Conradh na Gaeilge debate and vote on a range of motions that will direct the Conradh na Gaeilge programme of work in the coming year. Motions which are up for discussion include; the question of language rights, investment in the Irish language, policies around the teaching of Irish, the Foras na Gaeilge funding model and also motions relating to the impact of Brexit and the possible role of the language in a new Ireland in a post Brexit or post border-poll scenario.
Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, said: “There is now no escaping Brexit. The eyes of the world are on Ireland, on the border and on the people here. There is no doubt that this will impact us all greatly, both the work of Conradh na Gaeilge and the Irish Language in general, even if we are still unsure around the final agreements to be made. There are countless questions we must ask ourselves as we seek to protect what is most important to us; How will Brexit ultimately affect the language on an all-Ireland basis, and indeed, minoritised languages across these islands? Will Brexit impact the north-south funding model of Foras na Gaeilge, or the very concept of Foras as a north-south body? And how will this effect the day to day operations of all-Ireland organisations, like Conradh na Gaeilge and our branches, or border based gaelscoils as students commute cross-border on a daily basis? I look forward to welcoming delegates to this year’s Ard-Fheis as we look to the grassroots for guidance and support and as we seek to meet head-on the challenges of the coming year.
Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge, said: “The Ard-Fheis gives us the opportunity to come together as a democratic forum for the Irish language and to debate and discuss our work. It also provides us with space to identify current and impending challenges and new opportunities, for the overall development of the Irish language across Ireland. Our branches and members are the core foundation of Conradh na Gaeilge and each year we celebrate their role in the organisation at the Ard-Fheis at a special dinner on Saturday evening. We welcome this year our panel of political representatives who we hope can shine some light on where we are, and where we are going, both in terms of Brexit and those main language questions of funding, policies and language rights. We are looking forward to taking to the streets of Monaghan for the national launch of Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia and to welcoming Irish-language GAA teams to our blitz competition that afternoon, in collaboration with the Ulster Council GAA. Overall we hope to have a fruitful and worthwhile Ard-Fheis that will help to focus and strengthen our work going forward.
The Conradh na Gaeilge President’s Award will be presented this year to Dr. Pádraig Ó Baoighill on Saturday evening and Conradh na Gaeilge will also present awards of recognition of work carried out to branches across each province. Saturday will see an Irish-language GAA Blitz for both men and women in collaboration with the GAA Ulster Council as well as the national launch of Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia in Monaghan town centre.