New era beckons for the Cluain Ard

Cumann Cluain Ard’s Caoimhín Ó Caitni, second left, with Fra McCann MLA, Rosie McCorley and  Caoimhin Mac Giolla Mhín from Ciste Infheistíochta na Gaeilge and Cllr Jim McVeigh Cumann Cluain Ard’s Caoimhín Ó Caitni, second left, with Fra McCann MLA, Rosie McCorley and Caoimhin Mac Giolla Mhín from Ciste Infheistíochta na Gaeilge and Cllr Jim McVeigh
By Ciara Quinn

Belfast’s Irish language cultural hub Cumann Chluain Ard has secured the last of its funding for its complete refurbishment.

The committee said they are delighted with the support given by Belfast City Council through the Local Investment Fund (LIF). Caoimhín Ó Caitni, on behalf of the committee, said that the Chluain Ard’s longstanding commitment to the community has been key to securing the funding.

“Ever since 1936, our committee and teachers have volunteered their time on behalf of the people of Belfast and beyond,” he said. “What we see now is Belfast City Council helping us to continue with important work on behalf of our citizens. It must be remembered that we teach people from all areas of the city, providing a neutral environment in which people can learn Irish at no financial cost. Our ethos has been embraced by the Council and for that we are grateful.”

Several funders have been instrumental in bringing the building up to standard including the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Ciste Infheistíochta na Gaeilge.

Séamas Ó Donnghaile, Chluain Ard Chairperson, said he was absolutely delighted with the latest funding news.

“What the funders and city councillors have done here is quite simple – they have supported an institution from which so many good things have come,” he said. “They know our mission and support our vision to maintain a safe haven that brings Irish and cultural enrichment to all. The councillors’ support has been immeasurable.”

Sinn Féin MLA and Ciste Board Member Rosie McCorley said: “I am truly proud of my involvement in this initiative. We have been central to developing and funding a wide range of facilities across the city and beyond.

“I am particularly excited about the redevelopment of An Cumann Chluain Ard and the role of Ciste as the major funder. This institution, thanks to all its volunteer committee members and teachers, over the decades have been churning out fluent Irish speakers from all over the city.

“The Cluain Ard has been and will continue to lead the way in teaching Irish to adults, thus positively contributing to our fast growing urban Gaeltacht.”

“This £750,000 redevelopment scheme will completely transform An Cumann Chluain Ard as we all know it.

“Like all refurbishments of buildings of this age, this project has created serious challenges in securing the cocktail of resources required. Ciste are delighted that the contractors are on site and to contribute up to £360,000 towards this great project.

“As a member of the CAL committee, I would also like to thank Minister Caral Ní Chuilin MLA for her Department’s contribution of £160,000 and my Sinn Féin colleagues and councillors in Belfast City Council who lobbied hard to secure £150,000 from the Local Investment Funds.”

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