A number of Derry personalities have signed up to support the ‘Liofa’ campaign to become fluent in Irish by 2015.
The campaign will be launched in the city tomorrow by the Minister for Culture, Arts, and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.
Local film producer and presenter, Joe Mahon, actress and musician, Bronagh Gallagher, are among a host of local people who have already signed up to the campaign to become fluent.
Mr Mahon said he already has some Irish but is hoping to brush up and achieve fluency. “I would say that I have a fair smattering of Irish and have been producing Irish language programmes for many years but have always relied on good friends who have excellent Irish.
“I did Irish at school at St Columb’s College and had two great teachers, Fr Ciaran Devlin, and Aodh McEoin. I studied Irish to O-level and I would have gone down to Rannafast every summer. Then I had nothing to do with Irish for 20 years and have been trying to get re-acquainted with it since then.”
The presenter also said he is hoping to get support from family and friends. “My daughter, Sarah, is a fluent Irish speaker and works through Irish, so she is an inspiration for me,” he said.
Bronagh Gallagher said she is looking forward to the challenge of learning Irish.
“I have very little Irish from school. At the time I didn’t realise the importance of learning your own language. I didn’t take it seriously, now I do.
“I have lived in Dublin on and off since I was 19 years-old and many of my friends are Liofa. I’m past the point of confusion and feeling miffed when they are all chatting away and decided that it is time to get the books and CDs out. I travel a fair bit so I’m planning to have the audio books at the ready.
I recently had to learn a fair bit of Russian for a play I was doing in London and I really enjoyed that so I thought ‘Irish here I come!’”