Representatives and members of Conradh na Gaeilge gathered in Roscrea, Tipperary, this weekend for the Ard-Fheis of the democratic forum for the Irish language. The former GAA President, Liam Ó Néil, opened the occasion and keynote speakers also included Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh and Tomás Ó Síocháin. ‘Renewal: Volunteering, Responsiblility and Organisation’ was this year’s theme as the organisation looks to the future, especially in terms of the upcoming election, as well as the current consultation on an Irish Language Bill in the North. Motions from local branches were proposed and discussed, and the main all-island themes were based on the progress of the organisation. Themes varied from discussions on amending the Official Languages Act 2003, to ending the degradation of Irish in Europe, and included talks on the proper implementation of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in the North’s new ‘Super-Councils’. A great emphasis was also placed on the current consultation process on an Irish Language Bill and the necessity for language legislation in the North. The delegates also elected a new Coiste Gnó for the coming year and Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill was re-elected as President of Conradh na Gaeilge for a second term. The voluntary ethos of the organisation was greatly praised during the weekend’s proceedings.
Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, said:
‘The people who undertake this voluntary work are the most valuable and important asset the Irish language community has. Conradh na Gaeilge has an important duty to give these people recognition, support and a voice. The Irish language community are the people who best understand their needs. Conradh na Gaeilge offers us, as a community, a national stage and it is my duty, as President, to ensure the voice of that community is heard clearly. I look forward to fulfilling that duty in the coming year’.
Julian de Spáinn, Ard-Rúnaí of Conradh na Gaeilge, said:
‘After several challenging years the time has come to focus on the priorities we have as an organisation and for the Government to support the demands coming from the people, to provide proper support for the language and to supply the necessary resources to enable the community to carry out this work.