Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile welcomes Good Friday Agreement Irish language outreach initiative
Sinn Féin Senator and member of the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Committee, Niall Ó Donnghaile, has welcomed the decision taken by the committee to travel to Belfast for two days to meet with a range of Irish language, legacy & victims groups as well as community development groups and Irish Medium schools.
Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;
“I wish to warmly welcome my Oireachtas colleagues to Belfast for the opportunity to engage with groups from across all communities of the North.
“We will meet groups to discuss the ongoing issues around the introduction of an Irish language Act, as well as the calls for legislations protection and recognition for Irish speakers as well as hearing their experiences of life as Irish speakers in the Six Counties.
“Sinn Féin want to see an Acht Na Gaeilge implemented after being previously agreed at St. Andrew’s, which will afford Gaeilgeoirí in the North the same rights available across the rest of the island.
“We have also been clear in our support for rights for all citizens, and I hope this trip give committee members first hand insight into the issues facing citizens in the North on a daily basis.
“Sinn Féin want to see issues of legacy and the past addressed and we need to see the full implementation of the mechanisms agreed at the Stormont House talks, including setting up the HIU.
“The Good Friday Agreement must be protected in all of its parts, and we have been very clear on the need for the British and Irish Government to engage the Intergovernmental Conference as co-guarantors of The Good Friday Agreement.
“The two governments must initiate this conference as a matter of urgency and move to implement previous agreements. These include an Irish Language Act, the release of funds for legacy inquests and progress the legacy mechanisms, as well as safeguarding the rights of citizens including the right to marriage equality.”
Tuesday 20 February
10.30 – 12.00 Visit to WAVE Trauma Centre
12.30 – 14.00 Meeting with Joint Secretary, British Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat
14.30 – 15.30 Visit to Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter and meetings with representative groups including:
Forbairt Feirste - Business and community development agency based in Belfast’s Gaeltacht Quarter
Fáilte Feirste Thiar – Promoting tourism in West Belfast
16.00 – 17.00 Meeting with representatives from Cooperation Ireland LEGASI Programme
Wednesday 21 February
9:00 – 9:30
Meeting Coiste na nIarchimí
9:30 – 11:30
Roundtable discussion with representatives of Irish language groups including:
Conradh na Gaeilge
An Dream Dearg - Campaigning organisation established by grassroots following the cutting of the Líofa funding in 2016
Glór na Móna - Organisation delivering youth services through the medium of Irish in the Upper Springfield area of West Belfast
Turas - Group based in East Belfast promoting Irish language within the PUL community
Ultach Trust - ULTACH is an independent charitable trust based in Belfast. Their principal aim is to promote the Irish language throughout the entire community
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch discussion with Féile an Phobail - Ireland’s largest community arts festival which uses the Irish language as a central plank to promote the arts & culture
14.00 – 15.15 Visit to and tour of Coláiste Feirste - Largest post-primary Irish medium education school based in Belfast, followed by
Meeting with Laochra Loch Lao CLG - Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter GAA team which offers underage and senior level football to boys and girls and men and women.
15.30 – 17.00 Meeting with Relatives for Justice
17.00 Return to Dublin