Liadh Ní Riada targets new festival in Muscraí Gaeltacht under new plan

Former MEP and Presidential candidate Liadh Ni Riada is targeting an Irish language slot on the Late Late Toy Show as part of a new strategic plan she has been hired to oversee. File Picture: Jim Coughlan.
By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

Former Sinn Féin MEP and 2018 presidential candidate Liadh Ní Riada has been appointed as the new Irish language planning officer in her native Muscraí gaeltacht.

An Irish language slot in the Late Late Toy Show and a new festival in the Muscraí Gaeltacht are among the long-term strategic goals in the ambitious Irish language plan she has been hired to oversee.

A native of Cúil Aodha, her appointment on a three-year contract was announced by Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí, the local development cooperative, which also oversees the Gteic office campus, renewable energy, cultural tourism projects. It has €100,000 for each of the next seven years to implement the plan.

'A new chapter in my life'

“It is a great opportunity to get involved in a cause dear to my heart – speaking and promoting Irish – in my own area,” Ms Ní Riada said.

“As an MEP I was very active promoting the language. Not only did I go on a language strike (refusing to speak English and only speaking Irish) but I also succeeded in securing €3.2m for interpretation and translation services.

“I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí and the Language Planning ‘Meitheal’, with the support of the people in the area, have produced an excellent plan and it is a great opportunity for me to take on the role of representing these views on behalf of my community in every way I can to make this plan work.” 

Ms Ní Riada worked in a similar role at national level before being elected an MEP for Ireland South in 2014.

During her time in Brussels, she advocated for the Irish language, she was the coordinator of the European Budget Committee, she was a member of the Fisheries Committee, the Education and Cultural Committee and a delegate of the Regional Minority Languages group.

She also worked as an independent film producer and has produced over 30 programmes and films for broadcast.

“I am aware there are challenges but Gaeltacht Mhúscraí is a very special place, with a rich and valuable heritage and tradition, and I am hopeful that the steps laid down in this plan will work towards achieving the aims of the 20 year strategy for the language,” she said.

Seán Ó Cuill, the chair of Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí, said, they are delighted that Ms Ní Riada has taken on this role.

“Our language plan is realistic and implementable and Liadh understands the challenges and opportunities,” he said.

“We know that the people living here are behind it and are willing to play their part in making it happen."

According to the 2016 Census, there are just over 3,600 people aged three and over living in the Muscraí gaeltacht with 76.8%, or 2,782, able to speak Irish, with almost 680 people employed in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies in the area.

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