Re-Elected President Calls For High-Level Structure With Community Input & Emergency Motion on Education Is Unanimously Passed At Ard-Fheis

An emergency motion calling on the Government to leave entrance policies for Irish-medium primary and secondary schools alone was passed unanimously at Conradh na Gaeilge's 2013 Ard-Fheis in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry, Co. Down today (06 April 2013), following recent media reports on comments made by the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to the Irish-language background of pupils and their parents.

Conradh na Gaeilge delegates also unanimously passed motions calling for the recognition of the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community as a stakeholder in the implementation of the Irish-Language Strategy in the north from the outset, and for the establishment of a crucial high-level structure between authorities and Irish-language community organisations to ensure the effective implementation of The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030 in the south.

Donnchadh Ó hAodha, of the Cork Craobh Chúil Aodha branch, was also re-elected President of Conradh na Gaeilge for the third year running earlier today (06 April 2013), and said: "The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030 has been undermined and diluted in the south since the new Coalition came to power; Conradh na Gaeilge believes it is crucial that the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community is immediately recognised as a stakeholder in the implementation of the Strategy so we can put paid to the problems created by the current Government to date, and so we can establish effective methods to implement the Strategy in its entirety, as a matter of utmost urgency.

"It is also imperative that Irish speakers in the Six Counties are recognised as stakeholders in the implementation of the Irish-Language Strategy in the north from the get go, so as to avoid the problems already encountered in the south. To this end, Ard-Fheis Chonradh na Gaeilge is proposing the establishment of a crucial high-level structure between the authorities and the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community organisations, north and south, where recommendations would be made before being forwarded to the relevant Ministers."

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge agrees, saying: "An all-Ireland strategy would help to better coordinate, and to ensure the efficient and effective use of, the resources provided by both Governments to promote the Irish language, and Conradh na Gaeilge believes that the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) should establish an All-Ireland Planning Unit with representatives from the community and from the authorities to steer the combined, cohesive all-island strategy."

Conradh na Gaeilge is celebrating 120 years since its establishment in 1893 with a year-long celebration of the language called Bliain na Gaeilge 2013; as such, this year's Ard-Fheis in Newry is a particularly historic event. Newry is the perfect location to host Conradh na Gaeilge's 2013 Ard-Fheis as according to the latest census, the Newry / Mourne area boasts the highest number of people with Irish in the Six Counties (20%).

In addition to audience input from the floor, Niall Comer, local Newry President of Comhaltas Uladh, the provincial branch of Conradh na Gaeilge for Ulster and Louth; Seán Ó Coinn, Deputy CEO of Foras na Gaeilge; and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta presenter Cormac Ó hEaghra spoke on the theme of 120 Years of Growth and What Is Ahead Of Us at the Ard-Fheis talk last night (05 April 2013) following an official welcome to Newry by Jarlath Burns, GAA, and the Mayor of Newry and Mourne John McArdle.

Dominic Ó Brolcháin MLA will officially open Newry's newly renovated Irish-language centre, Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail, at 6.00pm this evening following the football final of Féile Peile na nGael 2013 at 5.00pm in Newry Shamrocks (6 April 2013). The Ard-Fheis dinner and céilí will be held in the hotel later this evening. Organisation members, MLAs, guest speakers, members of the public, and Féile Peile na nGael football players all attended Ard-Fheis Chonradh na Gaeilge 2013 and its training workshops, entertainment, all-Irish seven-a-side football competition, USI Irish-Language Forum, meetings and important discussions on motions determining the Conradh na Gaeilge programme of work for the year ahead. END

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Donnchadh Ó hAodha
President, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)87 2421267

Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)1 4757401 / +353 (0)86 8142757

EDITORS' NOTE:

ARD-FHEIS CHONRADH NA GAEILGE 2013 ONLINE:
The Conradh na Gaeilge 2013 Ard-Fheis will be broadcast live online at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ard-fheis-chonradh-na-gaeilge-2013 for anyone who cannot attend, and people can also take part in Ard-Fheis business on Twitter by writing the characters #afcnag at the end of each message, and the Twitter stream will be shown on a screen at the Ard-Fheis.

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Conradh na Gaeilge is celebrating 120 years since its establishment in 1893 with a year-long celebration of the language called Bliain na Gaeilge 2013. The theme for Ard-Fheis Chonradh na Gaeilge 2013 is 120 Bliain Ag Fás or 120 Years' Growth, and will be held at The Canal Court Hotel, Merchants' Quay, Newry, Co. Down, from 5 - 7 April 2013. The local Craobh an Iúir branch and Comhaltas Uladh deserve many thanks for helping to organise the Ard-Fheis programme.

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 run Irish courses in Dublin, Galway, Mayo and in other locations around the country. www.cnag.ie/courses

Bliain na Gaeilge is a year of festivities celebrating the Irish language and will include different fun and exciting events organised both locally and nationally throughout Ireland to inspire the public to use their Irish regularly. Join In - Bígí Linn - Let's Celebrate Our Language! www.gaeilge2013.ie

What can you do as part of Bliain na Gaeilge 2013?

• Use Irish with your friends, your relatives, your colleagues and anyone else you can in 2013
• Check out all the events on our website at www.gaeilge2013.ie & attend some of them
• Take part in the competitions - there are great prizes to be won!
• Make the decision to improve your Irish or learn it from scratch in 2013 - you could even take part in the Líofa 2015 initiative
• Go on holidays to the Gaeltacht
• Encourage friends from abroad to come to Ireland in 2013 to attend some of the Bliain na Gaeilge events and to take part in The Gathering Ireland 2013
• Buy products made in Ireland to help support the environment in which we're promoting Irish

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.facebook.com/comhaltas.uladh

Aontas Phobal na Gaeilge (APG) is an alliance of Irish-language organisations working to promote Irish across Ireland and the world through more strategic language-planning. Aontas Phobal na Gaeilge consists of Comhaltas Uladh, Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge, Glór na nGael and Seachtain na Gaeilge, organisations dealing with different aspects of the promotion of Irish in the community that came together to form a working alliance that would ensure a better provision of services and more value for money. www.aontaspg.ie

CONRADH NA GAEILGE ARD-FHEIS PROGRAMME 2013:

Friday, 05 April 2013

11.00 Networking meeting with the Irish-Language Community Schemes
14.00 Training for the Irish-Language Community Schemes
- Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail
20.00 Welcome to Newry & Official Opening of the Ard-Fheis
- John McArdle, Mayor of Newry and Mourne
- Jarlath Burns, GAA
20.30 Ard-Fheis Talk: 120 Years of Growth and What Is Ahead Of Us
- Niall Comer, President of Comhaltas Uladh
- Seán Ó Coinn, Deputy CEO of Foras na Gaeilge
- Cormac Ó hEaghra, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta
22.00 Music and reception
- sponsored by Newry and Mourne Council

Saturday, 06 April 2013

08.00 Breakfast
08.30 Ard-Fheis Breakfast Talk: 100 Years of Coláiste Bhríde
- Séamus Mac Dhaibhéid, Iontaobhaithe an Ghaelárais
09.30 Financial Accounts of Conradh na Gaeilge
10.00 Motions to be discussed according to priority
12.15 Motions not yet discussed to be agreed or rejected
12.30 Reports from organisations in association with Conradh na Gaeilge
Ard-Fheis Chonradh na Gaeilge 2014
13.00 Presidential & Executive Committee Elections (until 15.30)
Lunch
13.15 The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Irish-Language Forum
14.00 Start of the 7-A-Side Football Competition
- Newry Shamrocks, Páirc Esler, Ballinacraig Way, Newry, Co. Down BT3 42QX
- organised in association with Na Gaeil Óga CLG, Craobh an Iúir & Comhaltas Uladh
14.15 Training Workshops for Branches and Individual Members
a) How to use social media to promote the branch's work - Facebook, Twitter, etc.
b) Foras na Gaeilge funding schemes for local committees and how to fundraise
c) Conradh na Gaeilge Campaigns - what role do the Branches have to play?
15.15 Tea and Coffee
15.30 Training Workshops for Branches and Individual Members (until 16.30)
a) How to organise events in the community - Seachtain na Gaeilge, classes, An Bailiúchán Náisiúnta, Is Leor Beirt, etc.
b) How to plan at a local level
c) How to deal with local media
17.00 Final of the 7-A-Side Football Competition - all welcome!
18.00 Opening of Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail Irish-language centre (refreshments will be provided)
- Dominic Ó Brolcháin, MLA
20.30 Welcoming Speech before the Ard-Fheis Dinner
- sponsored by Comhaltas Uladh
21.00 Ard-Fheis Dinner and Céilí

Sunday, 07 April 2013

11.00 Ard-Fheis Mass
- Cathedral of Saints Patrick & Colmán, 38 - 40 Hill Street, Newry, Co. Down
12.00 Bus Tour
- Tour of the South Armagh Poets

Ard-Fheis delegates are welcome to call in to view the exhibition in Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail over the course of the weekend on Gaeltacht Óméith and Coláiste Bhríde.

The local Craobh an Iúir branch and Comhaltas Uladh deserve many thanks for helping to organise this programme.

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge