The main national Glór na nGael award is on its way to the Upper Springfield Area in West Belfast as the Irish medium youth and community organisation, Glór na Móna won the main prize at the annual awards ceremony held in Athlone, Co Roscommon on Saturday night (10-3-18)
In spite of stiff competition from a range of other Irish language groups from across Ireland, Glór na Móna scooped the top National award at Glór na nGael’s award ceremony, with a prize worth £20,000 , as well as winning another £4000 in their section for areas with a population of under 20,000 and another £750 for the Timire Award for their charity work in the area.
Speaking at the event, Glór na Móna’s Director, Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh said:
“It is a great honour for us to collect this award on behalf of Glór na Móna and the Upper Springfield community. We are very grateful to the Glór na nGael team and board for selecting us as the most successful group for 2017. We would also like to thank our funders, Foras na Gaeilge, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Education Authority and those who helped us build Gaelionad Mhic Goill in 2016; the Irish language investment fund, the Belfast City Council and the Department for Communities.
Above all else though, I would to personally thank the amazing team we have at Glór na Móna whose daily achievements on behalf of the language and the local community are second to none. There is something special and unique about our staff; capable and professional yet embedded in their local community and committed to staying there to strengthen it.”
Established in 2004, Glór na Móna developed from the bottom up specialising in facilitating the social use of Irish outside of formal education. As well as family and environmental projects such as Suí & Scith and Athmhuscailt an Fhathaigh, they provide social projects such the cycling club, fishing club and film club whilst also being involved with Laochra Loch Lao CLG. They are the primary Irish medium youth work provider in the city, as they currently run 5 fully registered youth clubs that cater for over 450 children and young people on a weekly basis.
Speaking on this work, Mac Ionnrachtaigh continued:
“When we established Glór na Móna in 2004, we understood that we were standing on the shoulders of giants, those who established the Shaws Road Gaeltacht, the Ballymurphy co-operatives, Whiterock industries, Bunscoil Phobal Feirste, Meánscoil Feirste, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, LÁ, Ráidió Fáilte and 20 other similar projects.
In our own area, republican ex-prisoners were among those who built on the foundations laid by the likes of Seán Magaoill and Seamús Mac Seáin when they founded Naíscoil and Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh as well as Naíscoil and Gaelscoil na Móna. Courageous Gaels such as Maureen McGuinness, Jim McCann, Johnboy Ó Muireagáin, Matt Lundy and Danny Bairclaigh who led the way before us.
We are functioning and working in area suffering from high levels of socio-economic disadvantage and we believe that the Irish language can be used as a tool to tackle some of these problems in both a positive and creative way. Our approach is based on building partnerships and relationships with other like-minded groups rather working in our own little silos. We are nurturing a sustainable language infrastructure for the next generation to come and we have ambitious plans to build an additional purpose built youth centre. This will be the first of its kind in the history of the northern state and we will be pushing this with the Department of Education in the time ahead. This prize money will be used for the benefit of the community and will be invested back into the local area.”
There were also celebrations going on in the various youth clubs on account of the victory.
Speaking to us, 16 year old Dáire McMenamin from Cumann Óige Uachtar Chluanaí stated:
“We are all totally delighted at the national award which gives recognition to the amazing work taking place in Glór na Móna. Just under a year ago, we had to fight our own campaign when the Education Authority took our youth services of us and we end up getting every penny back and more.
Glór na Móna is just a massive part of my life and we would be total lost without the space that they provide for us. We feel like we own this youth club and also get to take part in all the community projects going in Glór na Móna every day of the week. We are going from strength to strength and we know that this award will be put to good use and add to the good work in the time ahead.”
For further information, contact Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07841101630
For more information on the work visit www.glornamona.com