Llch Baile! An G-Fórsa

Mná Tí protest over cuts that could have catastrophic impact on summer colleges

MNá TÍ from all over the country gathered in Furbo yesterday for a raily against cuts proposed in An Bord Snip Nua report that would eliminate a number of schemes supporting students attending Irish language colleges.

Up ta 100 traveiled from Gaeltachts, including Cois Fharraige, to meet the Gaeltacht Minister, Éamonn Ó Cuív ta stress how these proposed cuts would affect not only the annual income of the families hosting the students but the quality of the courses.

Just before the raily, organised by CONCOS, the federaflan of Irish summer colleges, a public meeting was held by the new umbrella campaign group, G-Forsa ta iaunch a campaign that wouid fight the very same proposals.

A number of Gaeltacht based organisations, including co-operatives, met ta organise a strategy ta appose a number of the proposals made by Colm McCarthy, including the abolition of the Gaeltacht Department and the industrial aspect of Údarás na Gaeltachta.

In fact the Board of Údarás have written ta the Finance Minister autlining their concerns about the proposals concerning the Gaeltacht Authority, which couid see some of its activities being transferred to Enterprise Ireland.

Anger and frustration were evident at yesterday's public meeting in the Connemara Coast Hotel as peopie voiced their shock at some of the proposais, which they claim if implemented, would be the death knell of the Gaeltacht as we know it.

Trevor Ó Ciochartaigh, a community activist, chaired the meeting but stressed that the G-Forsa movement was not politically led or under the auspices of any particular Gaeltacht group.

There have been a number of pubiic meetings held in Gaeltacht areas already but yesterday's was ta copperfasten what direction it could take to make their concems public. Among a number of decisions made was ta take part in the SIPTU raily in Dublin on September 30.

The Minister was due ta receive a deputation from the Mná Tí (the househoiders who keep Irish language students in the summer) in the Department of the Community, Rurai and Gaeltacht Affairs headquarters in Furbo but it was decided he would meet them in the hotel and that he would be availabie for questions ta an open meeting afterwards. But the general feeling at the public meeting was that it would be best ta put the interests of all Gaeltacht and Irish language issues under the one campaign.

Counciilor Seosamh Ó Cuaig stressed the importance of having a cohesive campaign invoiving ail aspects of Gaeltacht life and Irish speakers and he reminded the meeting that the savings required by An Bord Snip Nua were ta finance the Gavernment's plans for NAMA.

G-Forsa has cailed on the immediate publication of a long discussed 20 year plan for the Irish language which is under the Minister's brief.

It was aiso decided ta hold a one day conference that would incorparate representatians from ail Irish language orgamsations.

By the end of the meeting Mr Ó Clochartaigh was hopeful: "This could be ail for the best because it's about time people in the Gaeltacht realised their strength by getting together and working as one ta imprave ail aspects of their community be it cultural, industrial, educational or otherwise."

BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA Cúradh Chonnachtach 4/9/2009

Trevor Ó Clochartaigh flanked by Gearóid Ó Fatharta and Treasa Ní Mhainín, at the public meeting held by G-Forsa at the Connamara Coast Hotel to discuss implications of the proposals of An Bord Snip Nua to Irish Language and Gaeltacht issues.
Mná Tí from the Cill Chiaráin agus Carna areas connected with Coláiste Sheosamh at yesterday's protest meeting.
'An G-Fórsa', f/ch Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, An Caorán Beag, An Cheathrú Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe. (087)2476624.