New Lord Mayor John Finucane was in Ballymurphy this morning to launch the Upper Springfield Community Festival, Féile na Carraige to the watchwords of Politics, participation and community. Organised by youth and community organisation, Glór na Móna, who work through the medium of Irish, the festival aims to create spaces that foster critical reflection and community empowerment by encouraging people to become active in the struggles to shape the community around them.
Launching a packed programme of local events including film screenings, lectures, panel discussions, plays and music concerts, Lord Mayor Finucane stated:
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane said: “I’m absolutely delighted to launch the fantastic Féile na Carraige 2019. It promises to be an exciting programme of cultural celebrations with music, debate and family fun. I want to congratulate all at Glór na Móna for the efforts they have made in bringing this festival to life I’d encourage everyone to pick up a programme and take part as there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Also speaking at the event, Glór na Móna Director, Feargal Mac Ionrachtaigh stated, ‘This is our 8th Féile na Carraige which was previously a shorter weekend affair named Féile Gaeilge le Bród back in the day and over time it has grown and gone from strength to strength and carved out a niche for itself in the féile calendar in the city.
Other Féiltí in the city bring much richness that cover many themes, but ours is unashamedly political and focused on participatory democracy practice that encourages critical thinking, debate and cross campaign alliance building that attempts to give us the tools take control of our own destiny and imagine a better world. We look in detail at important historic events and milestones not to look back with nostalgic rose tinted glasses for the sake of commemoration but to take the most inspiring and liberating of those lessons from history and learn from them in order to reshape the present and give us the tools the deal with future challenges ahead.
‘We have lectures, film screenings, plays and panel discussions looking at diverse topics such as, the lessons of the Shaws Road Gaeltacht, 50 years on; the IRB and the war of independence, the pogroms of 69’ and the history of local theater in the guise of JUSTus women’s theatre group not to mention the best of local musicians who conclude the Féile next Saturday night in Gort na Móna CLG. We believe that our féile is especially important to give people agency and hope in the context of the overwhelming political crisis unfolding daily around us. It fits into the wider debate taking place throughout the country and wider Irish civil society on Brexit and the future of the country. Our Féile proves that this conversation is not the sole preserve of those of political elites but something that we all can have a say on and need to engage on pro-actively if we want to change things for the better.
‘We would ask people to take part in the Féile, become involved in the conversation and spread the word.’