President of the GAA Ulster Council has met students undertaking an Irish language Diploma during a visit to Cookstown.
Martin McAviney met recipients of the Gaeilge sa Chlub (Irish in the Club) scholarship scheme, which provides financial assistance to GAA members who sign up for a Diploma in Irish Language course, delivered in the Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre.
Now in its third year the scheme is a joint initiative between the Ulster University and the GAA, which is supported by Mid Ulster District Council.
Of the 45 adults currently studying the Diploma, 27 are GAA members who have availed of scholarships and are part-way through their two-year, part-time course, which is delivered in a class-room setting, as well as through on-line methods and develops listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
Martin McAviney, Uachtarán Chomhairle Uladh CLG, congratulated all of the participants studying the Irish Language diploma and emphasised the continuing importance of Irish promotion to the Ulster Council:
“Ulster GAA is delighted to once again offer GAA club members an opportunity to receive a scholarship to study the Irish Language. Through this initiative, Gaeilge sa Chlub, we hope GAA club volunteers will develop their love and knowledge of the Irish language and on completion of their course bring back some of that knowledge to promote Irish Language in their club and community.”
“Ulster GAA is delighted to partner with Ulster University in this initiative and I wish all 27 Gaeilge sa Chlub scholars every success as their embark on their learning journey.”
Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Ulster, stated:
“The commitment of Ulster GAA to supporting club members in taking our Diploma in Irish language is admirable and pioneering. This is a practical step in supporting the Irish language revival across Ulster and having a major impact nationally. The ‘Gaeilge sa Chlub’ initiative is a tremendous example of good practice and should be replicated in other provinces”.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Linda Dillon, made reference to the important links between the University, the Council’s Irish Language programme and the GAA:
“This is an important partnership and increases the opportunities for a vibrant and diverse community of learners to develop and flourish together.
“As well as the Diploma, there are lots of more informal chances to learn the language and I would encourage anyone who is interested in Irish, no matter what their background, to get in touch with us”.
For further information about the Irish language in Mid Ulster, contact Irish Language Officer Ursula Uí Dhonnghaile, E: [email protected] or Tel: 07920 016106.