23rd March: 6.00pm
Where now for the Irish Language a Century after Partition?
This live audience event will explore the current situation in relation to the Irish language a century after partition. Our speakers will give their unique perspectives on what is sometimes a complex topic. They consider what impact major events have had on the language and its speakers both positive and negative. The panel will envision how the language may evolve in coming decades and what might have been had historical event played our differently a hundred years ago. The discussion will then be open to the floor.
This event is jointly organised by An Droichead and Gael Linn in conjunction with Imagine Belfast. We have brought together a range of speakers who have special insights on this topic and expect the discussion to be both informed and passionate. We warmly encourage those who are curious about the Irish language to join and make their voice heard. The panel discussion will be in English.
Máirtín Ó Muilleoir: Máirtín is the publisher of the Belfast Media Group titles and of the Irish Echo in America and has been involved in journalism for over four decades. He has served in politics for Sinn Féin both in Belfast City Council and in the power-sharing Executive at Stormont and is a former Lord Mayor of Belfast.
Katie Ní Chléire: Katie is the President of Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union for 2021/22. She is a Social Work graduate and was previously the Vice President for Welfare for the Union. Katie is an activist and campaigner, and is passionate about gender equality, Irish Language rights, climate action, and mental health.
Dr. Pól Deeds: Pól is CEO of south Belfast’s Irish language & arts organisation An Droichead. He came to work with An Droichead after securing a doctorate from Ulster University for his work on the Cork poet, Seán Ó Ríordáin. He was a contributor to Queen’s University Belfast’s ‘Navigating the language barrier’ research group in 2016, which culminated in 2019 in his writing a chapter, along with Dr. Marcas Mac Coinnigh of Queen’s and Linda Ervine, for ‘The Routledge Handbook of Language in Conflict’. The title of their chapter was ‘The Irish Language in Belfast: the role of a language in post-conflict reconciliation’.
Dr. Véronique Altglas: Véronique is lecturer at QUB’s School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. She has a special interest in Sociological and Anthropological approaches to religion, identity formation in Northern Ireland and beyond. racism and anti-semitism and social class. Véronique is also a trade union activist.
Rev. Jim Stothers: Born and raised in east Belfast, Jim has had an interest in the Irish Language since he was 20 years old. He trained as a civil engineer however left this profession to follow a vocation with Christian Ministries in 1981. He gained a Masters in Theology with a thesis entitled “The Use of the Irish Language by Irish Presbyterians with particular Reference to Evangelical Approaches to Roman Catholics’. He has spent time working as a Presbyterian minister throughout Ireland and had recently received an A Level in Irish with An Droichead.
The discussion is chaired by Réamonn Ó Ciaráin. Réamonn is Director of Education with Gael Linn. He is author of three books on Cúchulainn; Laoch na Laochra: Scéal Chúchulainn (2015), Cúchulainn, Ulster’s Greatest Hero (2017) and Cú Uladh, Scéal Chúchulainn (2018). He is co-founder of Flash Fiction Armagh and co-editor of The Bramley, an anthology of Flash-Fiction. Réamonn is chairperson of Aonach Mhacha, the Irish language social enterprise behind the Irish language Cultural Centre in Armagh City which opened in March 2020 after a ten-year Odyssey.