Tuesday, 11 October 2011
A Face in the Crowd
The Blether Region spotted Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín at Sunday's annual Cearta agus Ceiliúradh festivities, which took place in St. George's Market in Belfast. The event was intended on the one hand as a demonstration in favour of bringing language legislation in Northern Ireland into line with that in force in Scotland, Wales and the Republic and on the other as a celebration of the strength of Irish at a community level.
Recently Foras na Gaeilge has come in for sustained criticism regarding its plans to end core funding and disqualify NI-only organisations from applying for project-specific funds, with the result that groups such as the cross-community language organisation Ultach Trust and the organisers of Cearta agus Ceiliúradh, Pobal, may soon be forced to shut up shop.
Tomorrow Irish-language organisations will be demonstrating outside the North/South Ministerial Council meeting in Armagh, at which Minister Ní Chuilín is expected to rubber-stamp Foras na Gaeilge's proposals. If she does, Sunday's celebrations may turn out to be the last such event organised by Pobal. Quite apart from the fact that the organisation may soon cease to exist, if the plans are allowed to proceed, the Irish language may have very little to celebrate in the North this time next year.