Demonstration in Belfast against cuts in funding for Irish language youth services
A PROTEST took place in Belfast city center yesterday against cuts to funding for Irish language youth services.
A large crowd gathered outside the Education Authority (EA) headquarters on Academy Street following the organization’s decision last month to cut funding to Glór na Móna, a community and youth organization in Irish language based in the Upper Springfield area of West Belfast.
The organisation, which has received funding from EA since 2009, said the loss would have a ‘significant and disproportionate impact on frontline services for Irish-speaking young people, which would amount to the loss of jobs for young people across the sector and hundreds of face-to-face weekly hours of youth work delivery”.
Glór na Móna said he was told by EA that “funding would not continue from April 1 due to budget constraints”.
The move means 98% of the organisation’s youth projects funding, amounting to £86,000, will be cut.
A public meeting over the cuts took place in West Belfast last week.
Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh, director of Glór na Móna, said yesterday’s “massive crowd” at the protest provides strong evidence of the “palpable anger within our community at the disastrous decision by the authority school to decimate the youth offer of Glór na Móna”.
“Shameful decisions have consequences and our young people and their families have decided to take this widespread frustration and anger to the doorsteps of those responsible,” he said.
“No longer will we accept being treated less favorably than those around us where funding can be cut on a whim without consideration for the negative and disproportionate impact on our young people.”
Mr Mac Ionnrachtaigh said there was “still time for a resolution”.
An EA spokeswoman said: “Glór na Móna was previously funded through a legacy funding program which has been replaced under the Youth Priorities Policy.
“Glór na Móna will be able to apply for relevant funding under the new program.”