A NEW Irish language centre was officially opened in Armagh today following more than a £1million investment by the Department for Communities.
Attending the official opening of Aonach Mhacha in the city’s Upper English Street, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “I am delighted to see the completion of this iconic new cultúrlann in Armagh city at a cost of over £2.3m. I am very proud to say that my Department has contributed almost £1.2m.”
The Minister, who has responsibility for the Irish language, added: “Aonach Mhacha shows how the Irish language can provide a very positive force and influence. It is a social enterprise which will offer a wide range of facilities that include a permanent home for Irish language classes, office space for Irish language community groups and organisations and for up to six businesses.
“Above all it can provide a place in this great city, where people from across the whole community, whatever their background, can engage with the language and culture, perhaps for the first time.”
Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Chairman of Aonach Mhacha commented: “It means a great deal to everyone involved with Irish language in Armagh city and district to have this new state of the art centre with a performance area, meeting rooms, conference space, a Celtic gift shop and cafe. We have been working towards this opening for 12 years.
“The Department for Communities is the main funder with over £1m; without that funding we would not be able to realise our vision of building a home for Irish language in the centre of the ancient city of Armagh, close to Navan Fort.”
Notes to editors:
- Pictured at the official opening of Aonach Mhacha, the new Irish language centre in Armagh, is Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey with Gearóid Ó Machail, Director of Aonach Mhacha and Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Chairman of Aonach Mhacha. The Department for Communities contributed almost £1.2m towards the £2.3m project.
- DfC leads Government’s responsibility for the Irish language.
- The Aonach Mhacha project sees the former dilapidated fire station site in Armagh regenerated into a modern centre for Irish language and culture. Located within an area of high deprivation, the building was identified as a key site for development within the Armagh Master Plan.
- Aonach Mhacha is a registered charity and profits generated by the trading activities of the social enterprise will be reinvested in cultural, social, arts, educational and recreational projects in the Armagh area.
- The event took place during Seachtain na Gaeilge.
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