Sruth na hÉirne, the local branch of Conradh na Gaeilge hosted a visit from the FODC chairperson, Barry McElduff and his councillor colleague Tommy Maguire last week.

This was the first time that the Irish language group had engaged directly with councillors to discuss what progress is being made on developing the language within the council district since the Irish language consultation nearly two years ago

Pointing to their active support for the consultation and the large response from the Irish language community locally, they expressed their frustration with the failure of council officials to organise any public feedback sessions on the council’s Irish language development strategy and action plan.

They emphasised that good community development practice expected prompt feedback on public consultations by either council officials or its councillors if the public consultation was genuinely about community participation .

During the meeting, a wide range of topics were discussed including

· where the Irish language was located within the council organisational structures.

· the poor access on the council’s website to information on Irish language events.

In response, Councillor Tommy Maguire highlighted the visibility of new Irish language signage within the town centre and on all council maintained graveyards and informed the meeting of future Irish language information boards and signage being installed up at the renovated workhouse project .

Sruth na hÉirne expressed its willingness to be a genuine working and equal partner with both council officials and councillors in shaping the growth on Irish language within the context of the recently passed leglislation Acht Na Gaeilge but expected a full briefing on the language consultation before the act’s enactment.

Welcoming the fact that a number of councillors are Irish language speakers and advocates, Jim Ledwith, Sruth na hÉirne secretary described the meeting as useful but a work in progress.

Jim Ledwith can be contacted at Fermanagh House or or on 07971075955