Council Celebrates the Irish Language on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Saturday 22 May 2021 6:58

NEWRY, Mourne and Down District Council has commissioned a series of 10 subtitled Irish language films to help highlight the importance of inclusivity on ‘World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development’.

Funded by the Northern Ireland Executive, the inspiring films feature a diverse range of speakers — from a world-champion Irish dancer of Nigerian descent, to a Protestant and Unionist Irish speaker, Dr Ian Malcolm, who explains his passion for the language.

The UN General Assembly declared 21 May a World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development back in 2002 to provide an opportunity for deepening understanding of the values of cultural diversity.

The series of 10 short films entitled ‘Is leatsa í, it belongs to you’ will stream on the Council’s social media platforms from Friday 21 May until Friday 5 June. These short films aim to showcase the richness of cultural diversity within our ever-evolving shared communities in Northern Ireland and beyond. These vibrant, informative films will debunk some pre-existing stereotypes associated with the Irish language. They also aim to create an awareness that the Irish language belongs to people from all walks of life, irrespective of colour, creed or background.

In the first film, Newry native Dr Niall Comer offers a brief flavour of the history of the Bagenal dynasty which stretched into the 17th and early 18th centuries in Newry. We learn of their legacy and the impact that this influential family had on Newry and the surrounding areas.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “I am delighted to see these 10 inspiring videos launched as part of the Council’s celebration of ‘World Day for Cultural Diversity’. It is important for us to reflect on the diversity within our community and to celebrate the variety of cultures and backgrounds of people who engage with, speak and develop the Irish language.”

The films to be showcased include a diverse range of contributors, from a world-champion Irish dancer of Nigerian descent Elliot Kwelele, to a Protestant and Unionist Irish speaker, Dr Ian Malcolm, who explains his passion for the language. Linda Ervine speaks of her continued commitment to grow and develop understanding of this all-inclusive language within Unionist communities in east Belfast and beyond. Ola Majekodunmi, a journalist and poet, explains her love for the language and desire to eradicate pre-conceived beliefs associated with it. While Cian Ó Gríofa from the online platform Gaylgeoirí explains his quest to be a positive influential figure for the LGBTQ+ community. Over the course of two weeks audiences across the district will enjoy small snapshots of what this unique and shared language has to offer.

For further information on this initiative please email gaeilge@nmandd.org or visit www.newrymournedown.org/gaeilge.

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