Date: 16 Oct 2023
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, has selected Irish language organisation Conradh na Gaeilge as the fourth and final charity for his year in office.
Councillor Murphy has previously announced his support for three other local groups - the volunteer-based Community Rescue Service, mental health support organisation TAMHI and Kids Together, who provide services and support for children and young people with complex needs.
Conradh na Gaeilge was founded in 1893 to promote the use of the Irish language and now has over 200 branches worldwide. The first branch in Belfast was founded on 19 August 1895 by Dr John St Clair Boyd at 32 Upper Beersbridge Road.
Councillor Murphy said: “2023 marks the 130th anniversary of Conradh na Gaeilge and I’m delighted to announce them as one of the charities for my term.
“During this time, the organisation has been a driving force in promoting and protecting the rich history of the Irish language right across our city, a role which it continues to play today.
“As a council, we have committed to ensuring that everyone feels welcome in our city as it expands and grows in diversity. I hope that, by working closely with the committed team and volunteers at Conradh na Gaeilge, I can play my part in telling the story of the Irish language and encourage others to explore for themselves its wider connection to our city’s heritage and development.”
The Lord Mayor met with representatives from the charity at City Hall earlier today and heard more the services they currently offer in Belfast, including providing classes and workshops, working with schools, and organising Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia, the international Irish language festival.
Dúirt Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Bainisteoir Abhcóideachta le Conradh na Gaeilge, ó thuaidh:
“Le blianta beaga anuas tá clú bainte amach ag Béal Feirste ar fud na hÉireann agus ar fud na hEorpa mar eiseamláir dhea-chleachtais maidir le hathbheochan agus le hathneartú mionteanga dhúchais i gcomhthéacs uirbeach. Ag tógáil ar an obair chlaochlaitheach a thit amach ar Bhóthar Seoighe, tá borradh faoin teanga ar fud na cathrach, agus an Ghaelscolaíocht mar chuisle leis an fhorbairt sin.
“Tá t-iliomad naíscoileanna agus Gaelscoileanna ar fud na cathrach, agus tá an mheánscoil Ghaeilge is mó in Éirinn, Coláiste Feirste, ag fás bliain i ndiaidh bliana. Tá na céadta i ndiaidh iarratais a dhéanamh le Halla na Cathrach chun a gcuid logainmneacha agus sráidainmneacha a chur in airde trí Ghaeilge agus ag an am céanna tá na mílte ag freastal ar ranganna oíche gach seachtain le grúpaí pobail in achan chearn den chathair. Is gluaiseacht athshlánaíoch teanga agus pobail í seo nach bhfuil a leithéid chéanna le fáil áit ar bith eile in Éirinn.
“Tá Conradh na Gaeilge millteanach bródúil bheith ábalta tacú le na hiarrachtaí athbheochana atá faoi lán seoil i láthair na huaire. Agus muid anois ag obair i dtreo chur i bhfeidhm na reachtaíochta nua teanga ó thuaidh, a mbeidh tionchar iontach dearfach aici ar phobal na Gaeilge agus eile.
“Tá céimeanna móra maithe tógtha chun tosaigh ag Comhairle Cathrach Bhéal Feirste Fosta le dornán beag blianta anuas ó thaobh chur chun cinn na Gaeilge de. Sa bhliain seo atá amach romhainn tá muid ag súil le polasaí nua Gaeilge atá láidir agus ceannródaíoch ann féin, mar aon le himeachtaí móra chun céirliúradh a dhéanamh ar Sheachtain na Gaeilge le Energia, i measc neart rudaí eile.
“Is mian linn ar mbuíochas a ghabháil leis an Ard-Mhéara agus leis an Chomhairle féin as ucht tacú lenár bhfís agus lenár gcuid oibre, as luach a chur linn mar eagraíocht mar aon leis an iliomad eagraiochtaí iontacha pobail atá ag cuidiú le Béal Feirste éagsúil, ildánach agus fáilteach.”
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge in Belfast, said:
“In recent years, Belfast has become known across Ireland and, indeed across Europe, as a model of best practice for indigenous minority language revival and revitalisation in an urban context. Building on the pioneering work of the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht, Belfast is now home to many Irish language pre-schools and primary schools, and the largest Irish language secondary school on the island, Coláiste Feirste.
“Hundreds upon hundreds of communities across the city are opting to reclaim their original Irish language place names on street signage, whilst thousands upon thousands of adults attend weekly Irish language classes in pioneering community groups, north, east, south and west of the city. This is a restorative linguistic and community movement unrivalled anywhere in Ireland.
“Conradh na Gaeilge is immensely proud to play a role in the current revival efforts. We now work towards the timely implementation of the newly enacted Irish language legislation, which will have an incredibly positive impact for Irish speakers and beyond across Belfast.
“Belfast City Council have taken some huge strides towards language rights and equality in recent years and we look forward to welcoming a new Irish language policy and new, exciting events for Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia in the coming months.
“We wish to thank Belfast City Council and the Lord Mayor for endorsing that vision and our work, for valuing us alongside many other vital community organisations, many of whom help make Belfast the diverse and welcoming place it is today.”