A County Waterford man has been appointed to the board of Foras na Gaeilge, the key funding body for the Irish language sector. Conor McGuinness, who lives in the Waterford Gaeltacht, is from Dungarvan and was appointed to the all-Ireland body at a recent meeting of the North South Ministerial Council.
Conor McGuinness said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to be appointed to such an important body. Foras na Gaeilge is the statutory organisation tasked with promoting the Irish language throughout the whole island of Ireland, and is the key funder for the Irish language sector.
“The Irish language and the Irish language community is at a crossroads in many respects. On one hand it is growing and strengthening. Recent surveys show public attitudes to the language remain overwhelmingly positive, and more and more parents are seeking to educate their children through Irish.
“On the other hand there is hostility to the language and its speakers from some quarters, both North and South. The Budget of Foras na Gaeilge and the capital investment fund of Údarás na Gaeltachta have been reduced by over 50% since 2008. Funding to implement the language plans in the Gaeltacht and in the Gaeltacht service towns such as Dungarvan, has not been forthcoming.
“This is hurting communities and stifling job growth but the Irish language community is resilient and we will persevere and continue to grow and develop. I will use my position on the board of Foras na Gaeilge to ensure good governance, fairness, and an overall strategic approach in the work of the language body.”
Conor McGuinness is a political advisor with Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada. He is a graduate of NUI Galway and Waterford Institute of Technology. McGuinness previously worked in the Irish language television production sector and on a number of language projects in the Basque Country.
Last week Waterford City and County Council Irish Officer Máire Seo Breathnach was appointed to the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta, meaning that the county is represented on two of the most important funding and development bodies in the Irish language community.