The development of a new state-of-the-art Irish language centre in Armagh has taken a major step forward, with the securing of the old Fire Station at the Shambles as a base.
Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy has said he is delighted that plans for a Cultúrlann in Armagh have advanced over recent days.
Mr Murphy said: “I have been working with Armagh-based Irish language group Aonach Macha for the past 18 months along with my colleague Councillor Cathy Rafferty and I am delighted that they have been given the green light to advance the Cultúrlann project.
“Following a rigorous tendering process the group has identified the Old Fire Station in Armagh as the location for the Cultúrlann. It will be wonderful to see this old building returned to practical use for the benefit of the community.
“Once the project is complete the Cultúrlann will house a number of Irish language organisations, cultural groups and a youth club. It will have a café as well as theatre and office space.
“It will be a fantastic asset to Gaelic culture in Armagh and it will no doubt make an impact economically on the city centre. This development links perfectly with the continuing regeneration of the Shambles area as a whole.”
Armagh City Councillor Cathy Rafferty added: “All across the North the Irish language fraternity is growing and developing at an unprecedented rate. In Armagh we are fortunate to have Naiscoil, Bunscoil and Ard Scoil provision to enable our young people to learn exclusively through the medium of Irish.
“Under successive Sinn Féin Education Ministers the numbers of children attending Irish medium education has grown from 1,400 in 1997 to over 4,600 today. I can only see these figures increasing and I think it is fantastic that such resources have been devoted to the promotion of the Irish language.
“The Cultúrlann project in Armagh will be another wonderful asset to the Irish language community and I am proud to have been of assistance in making this a reality.”