CULTURE Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced funding of £160,000 to go towards building a new Irish language cultural hub for the Upper Springfield area.

The new centre is the brainchild of Glór na Móna and will be named Ollionad na Carraige. To be built on a site beside Whiterock Leisure Centre, the centre is being co-funded by Belfast City Council and Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge.

Speaking about the new development, the Minister said: “This is an excellent day for the Irish language in the Upper Springfield area. When it is completed, this new centre will greatly help Glór na Móna to further establish and develop an Irish language resource centre that will also act as a cultural hub for the entire local community and a catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area.”

She said the learning and everyday usage of Irish is on the increase right across Ireland and nowhere more so than in Belfast’s own Gaeltacht.

The Minister said she was delighted that her Department is funding this venture and that she is looking forward to seeing the centre come into fruition in May 2016.

Glór na Móna Chairperson Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh said: “We are delighted that we have received this extra capital funding from the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure and we are very grateful to Minister Carál Ní Chuilín for supporting us and our vision for the Irish language in the Upper Springfield area and the wider Gaeltacht Quarter.

“We were established back in 2004 and have gone from strength to strength ever since. As a community and youth organisation that functions through the medium of Irish, we provide a whole range of community services and projects that create Gaelsaolaíocht (Gaelic way of life) in the area and empower the next generation to take ownership of the language revival. This new centre will allow us to sustain this great work and build on it in future.”

Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín, the Director of Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge, the Irish language capital investment fund, was delighted at the announcement by the Minister.

“We are once again excited to be partnering with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Belfast City Council in providing for the Glór na Móna project,” he said.

“We recognise that Glór na Móna are an exciting vibrant Irish language all round community service provider in the Upper Springfield area and have no doubt about their dedication and determination. The future looks bright as this is one of five new Irish language capital community facilities Ciste earmarked for West Belfast and are delighted to be partnering DCAL in four of them.”