Conradh na Gaeilge, Guth na Gaeltachta and Comhaltas Uladh are meeting Members of the Stormont Assembly to inform them of Irish-language and Gaeltacht affairs at their first Assembly information day in Stormont Hotel, Belfast BT4 3LP, from 8.00am - 6.00pm on Tuesday, 25 October 2011.
Guth na Gaeltachta, Comhaltas Uladh and Conradh na Gaeilge are inviting members of the Assembly to come to discuss languages in the education system at GCSE level; the provision of second level education through Irish; and an Irish-language strategy for the Six Counties, with representatives from the three organisations, amongst others, and with local representatives from the politicians' own constituencies.
The information day is a golden opportunity for political representatives to consult with the Irish-speaking community about policies and decisions that will affect them directly, according to Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge: "This is a chance for MLAs to consult with representatives of Conradh na Gaeilge, Comhaltas Uladh, Guth na Gaeltachta and other groups from their own constituencies on language issues, in particular the teaching of Irish within the education system in the Six Counties."
Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta first organised consultation meetings on Irish-language and Gaeltacht affairs with Dáil and Seanad members in the south on 1 December 2009; over 80 Teachtaí Dála and Senators met with representatives from various Irish-language and Gaeltacht groups to discuss language issues and planning in the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht areas of the country. In the wake of similar consultations with southern politicians in 2010 and again earlier this year, Comhaltas Uladh, Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta are organising an information day for Members of the Assembly for the first time on 25 October 2011.
Niall Comer, President of Comhaltas Uladh, the provincial assembly of Conradh na Gaeilge for Ulster and Louth, said: "There will be representatives of all ages, from English- and Irish-speaking communities, and indeed from constituencies across the Six Counties, attending the information day in Stormont organised by Conradh na Gaeilge and Comhaltas Uladh in association with Guth na Gaeltachta. We all believe it is a critical time for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht areas, in both jurisdictions, and as such it is imperative that we keep MLAs from all Assembly parties informed as regards to language affairs."
President, Comhaltas Uladh
+44 (0)78 15319573
Éamonn Mac Niallais
Guth na Gaeltachta
+353 (0)87 6387468
Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)86 8142757
Conradh na Gaeilge, Guth na Gaeltachta and Comhaltas Uladh are recommending that:
languages should be included as STEM subjects at GCSE Level and as a result, every secondary level student will study a language at GCSE level (in addition to English);
provision of second level education through the medium of Irish should be developed in areas where there is demand for such, and an adequate numbers of teachers should be available to service those schools; and
a strong inclusive Irish language strategy should be agreed for the Six Counties and this strategy should act as another step towards an Irish-language Act.
Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community working to promote the language. There are over 200 branches of Conradh na Gaeilge and since its foundation in 1893, members of the Conradh have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland and especially its use in their own areas. Conraitheoirí are at the forefront of campaigns to secure and strengthen the rights of the Irish language community. It is also possible to register as an individual member of the Conradh. Conradh na Gaeilge runs Irish courses in Dublin, Galway, Mayo, Tipperary and other places throughout the country as well. www.cnag.ie/courses
Comhaltas Uladh is a provincial assembly of Conradh na Gaeilge and was founded in 1926 to administer the work of Conradh na Gaeilge in the province of Ulster, as well as Co. Louth. The organisation's main purpose is to promote the Irish language in Ulster. Comhaltas Uladh organises branches, feiseanna, and Irish-language speaking competitions for school pupils. Comhaltas Uladh provides assistance to drama groups, preschools and other Irish language schools in the 10 counties, and works in partnership with universities and training colleges in Northern Ireland also. Comhaltas runs summer schools in Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas in the north and gives scholarship grants to learners of Irish every year. www.comhaltasuladh.com
Guth na Gaeltachta is a non-political, cross-party campaign concerned with the Irish language and the Gaeltacht. This community campaign was founded in the Gaeltacht to inform the public on the effect the proposed cuts for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht would have and to oppose such cuts. This campaign will focus wholly and completely on Irish language and Gaeltacht issues only. www.guthnag.ie
On 1 December 2009, Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta organised the first set of consultation meetings on Irish-language and Gaeltacht affairs with Teachtaí Dála (TDs) and Senators i.e. members of the Dáil and Seanad, the houses of parliament in the south. Over 80 TDs and Senators met with representatives from various Irish-language and Gaeltacht groups to discuss language issues and planning in the Gaeltachts, areas of the country where Irish is the native tongue spoken by the majority of the population. The success of these meetings was built upon the following years when Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta organised further consultations with TDs and Senators in October 2010 and in June 2011. This is the first time Comhaltas Uladh, Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta have organised an information day for Members of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland.