Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has nominated Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for the prestigious European Citizen’s Prize 2014.
Speaking after the announcement that Comhaltas was shortlisted for the award, Ms Anderson said: “Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is a fantastic organisation which promotes and celebrates Irish traditional music throughout the world.
“It is best known for organising Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, by far the largest celebration of traditional music and culture, each year.
“I am extremely proud to be a member of my local branch of Comhaltas and to have been involved in the incredible Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry in 2013. This was widely recognised as the biggest and best Fleadh in the history of the organisation.
“Ahead of the Fleadh coming to Derry, I brought the Comhaltas Ard Chomhairle to the European Parliament in Brussels to showcase the amazing work of the organisation.
“I was pleased and honoured to nominate Comhaltas for the European Citizen’s Prize 2014. This is a prestigious accolade recognising groups who have particularly distinguished themselves in strengthening integration, openness to others and the development of mutual understanding.
“Each European member state is entitled to make one nomination for the award and the initial Irish nomination was for the Blue Star Programme Teachers. However, after lobbying myself, the vice-president of the European Parliament, Dimitrious Papadimoulis, said he would support Comhaltas and proposed that Ireland be given a second nomination.
“His proposal was adopted and now Comhaltas has been shortlisted for this award and deservedly so,” she said.
Gearóid Ó hEára, chairperson of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013, welcomed the nomination.
“The nomination for this prestigious prize is a recognition of the great work carried out by Comhaltas not only to promote Irish culture but to celebrate that culture in an inclusive and welcoming way,” he said.
“The hundreds of thousands of people who came to the Fleadh in Derry will know that Comhaltas brought all communities together in a celebration of our shared culture in a way that has never been seen before.
“Martina Anderson has done tremendous work to secure this nomination for Comhaltas and I look forward to them winning this award.”