An Irish language concert and reception hosted by the DUP Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey has been commended by Sinn Fein.
A number of groups from across the borough including Crawford Academy of Irish Dance, Gaelscoil Éanna, Ionad Teaghlaigh Ghleann Darach, Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach, Brian Ó Doibhlin, Aoibheann Devlin and Gaelscoil na Tamhnaí Móire participated in Seachtain Na Gaeilge at Theatre at The Mill on March 14.
Speaking on the evening , Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Hamill said: “It is superb to see such a fantastic turn out to this event. I am delighted that the council can show support to Irish Language Week and showcase the fantastic talent in our borough.
“I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of the guests here this evening, especially those who are performing.”
Voicing support for the event, Sinn Fein South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney said: “I was delighted to attend the Seachtain Na Gaeilge celebration in Newtownabbey for what was a highly enjoyable night of entertainment provided by Gaelscoileanna and Naíscoileanna from right across the Antrim and Newtownabbey council area.
“This was one of many events which have been taking place to mark Irish Language Week, and was a wonderful testament to the vibrancy of Irish language and culture which continues to grow through Irish Medium Education provision and community organisations across the local borough.
“I commend Cllr Paul Hamill for the grace he has shown in arranging this celebration of Irish language and culture in the borough, and in particular for his opening remarks delivered as Gaeilge.
“The Mayor’s use of Gaeilge was an important gesture of respect towards the Irish cultural traditions and language. This is as it should be.
“It is nevertheless disappointing that such a gesture remains the exception rather than the norm.
“Whilst it is of course welcome, and has been very warmly received by the Irish language community throughout South Antrim, the fact is general lack of respect exists for the Irish language, reinforced by a refusal to recognise Irish speakers rights as ratepayers to live their lives through the medium of Irish.”