Press Release

Assembly Committee Explores the Power of Language

Session: 2008/2009

Date: Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Reference: CAL 07/08/09

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure took to the road this summer with a series of visits to language centres to see what local communities are doing to promote Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Chair of the Committee, Barry McElduff MLA said: “The preservation and promotion of local culture underpins the work of the CAL Committee. It has been very interesting to see what is being achieved at Carntogher Community Association, the Ullans Speakers’ Society and Pobail an Chaistil.

“These visits are a great insight into how languages in this region are flourishing thanks to the dedication of local people. It is heartening to meet people with a passion for making language a core part of daily life.

“The ability to speak in Irish or Ulster-Scots is an important part of the preservation and promotion of cultural identity. In addition, being multi-lingual is a valuable asset for any young person and is something that the Committee encourages and applauds.”

The Committee visited three groups in Maghera, Ballymoney and Ballycastle to see them in action, getting a real taste of the work carried out by people with a passion for language. This is part of the Committee’s ongoing work witnessing the promotion of culture and the arts in Northern Ireland.


Notes to Editors:
Information about the groups
The Carntogher Community Association, Maghera

The Carntogher Community Association was founded in 1992 to redress its problems of depopulation, the erosion of its Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage, damage to traditional ecological habitats and the down turn in the fortunes of the agricultural sector.

Approximately 80 volunteers are involved with the range of activities promoted by the group and this number grows on an annual basis. The group caters for a wide area encompassing a primarily rural area to the north west of Maghera.

The Ullans Speakers Association, Ballymoney

]The Ullans Speakers Association was formed in May 2008 by people from the north east of Ulster who inherently speak Ulster Scots. The group has grown steadily since its formation and towards the end of the year, members felt that they could do a lot more to promote the language if they had a premises and the wherewithal to do so. An application for funding for such a venture was lodged with the Ulster Scots Agency and was duly successful. The group then secured premises in Ballymoney and opened to the public on 1 st July 2009.

Pobal an Chaistil, Ballycastle

Pobal an Chaistil, the Gaelic language development group for North Antrim along with the award winning Gaelscoil an Chaistil are providing their annual summer scheme.

The purpose and mission of the school is to provide the highest level of Gaelic-medium education to young children in North Antrim, as well as an in-depth understanding of the Gaelic identity as part of a diverse and inclusive global community.  The school also seeks to a ct as the catalyst for the development of a Gaelic-speaking community in the area.

The Committee

The Chairperson of the Committee is Mr Barry McElduff MLA
The Deputy Chairperson is Mr David McNarry MLA

The Committee has a further nine members:

Mr Dominic Bradley MLA 
Mr Francie Brolly MLA 
The Lord Browne MLA 
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA 
Mr Raymond McCartney MLA 
Mr Nelson McCausland MLA 
Mr Pat Ramsey MLA 
Mr Ken Robinson MLA 
Mr Jim Shannon MLA

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