TD Patrick O’Donovan visits Carn Tóchair

On Tuesday the 23rd January, Carntogher Community Association welcomed Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Patrick O’Donovan TD, in a landmark visit to the area.

The community centre, nestled at the foot of the Sperrins, served as the venue for discussions on critical language issues facing the community. The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht said he recognized the importance of grassroots initiatives and was committed to understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that rural communities encounter daily.

The visit commenced with a warm welcome from community representatives and first on the agenda was a tour of the community facilities, where the minister had the opportunity to interact with young people and witness first-hand the positive impact of community-driven projects.

A highlight of the visit was a roundtable discussion, where the Minister and Director of Irish with the Department of the Gaeltacht Aodhán Mac Cormaic engaged in a dialogue with community representatives. This open forum provided a platform for sharing insights, exchanging ideas, and addressing concerns that are central to the language planning process ongoing in the area.

A community representative in attendance said, “as the only rural community outside of the Gaeltacht with official language status as an Irish Language Network, we welcome the minister’s visit and all he had to say. Our language plan is into year two and this year we’re putting much of our focus into better understanding what it means for the local Irish-speaking community to be involved in a project of such national significance but also trying to let those with little to no Irish understand the hugely important role they play in the project and how they can get involved. We take great pride in our Irish-medium education sector here locally at pre-school, primary and post primary level as well as our fantastic Irish medium youth provision geared towards our young Irish speaking community but we also have over 70 adult learners attending weekly classes, dozens of regular conversation circle attenders, many stand alone events and a huge team of volunteers that make those many events the success they are. To hear the minister recognise the efforts being made by everyone here is a fantastic”