Mayor to have final say on Mid and East Antrim Council Irish language event

Mid and East Antrim councillors were in agreement that the mayor will have the final say on whether or not to host an event to mark Irish Language Week in March next year.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the borough council’s Policy and Resources Committee.

The council has received a request from Conradh Na Gaelige to host an event as part of Irish Language Week 2022 to “promote and showcase” the language with in the borough.

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Irish Language Week takes place annually from March 1 until St Patrick’s Day on March 17.

The Irish language organisation has also requested that the local authority provides a specific fund to enable local Irish language community groups to  organise their own events.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Matthew Armstrong, a TUV representative, suggested that the group should be referred “through the normal channels”.

Party colleague Councillor Timothy Gaston added: “In previous years, it has been  passed to the grants scheme to avail of it. It is up to the mayor whether they wish to host an event or not but it would come out of the mayor’s budget. Certainly, I do not think it should be any different this year.”

Ballymena Alliance Councillor Patricia O’Lynn asked if it remains a discretionary event for the mayor to host.

Ballymena SDLP Councillor Eugene Reid said: “I would have to agree. I was proposing what had happened previously. The mayor hosted an event. It was at the discretion of the mayor. We are on the same page as far as this is concerned. I am happy to go along with whatever has happened in the past.”

In March 2020, Coast Road Ulster Unionist Councillor Maureen Morrow, councillors and school groups attended an Irish language and music event at Larne Town Hall.

In 2018, DUP Mayor Larne Lough Alderman Paul Reid welcomed  guests from Irish language groups and musicians to The Braid in Ballymena.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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