We talked about the Conradh na Gaeilge Árd Fheis in our piece, "A very modern contest," concentrating on the contest for the venerable position of President (Uachtarán), a position held first by by one of the founders, Dúbhglás de hÍde, who later became President of Ireland.
There was very little coverage of this in the English language media, and indeed the Irish language media had what could be regarded as a fairly light coverage. However the new kid on the block, Gaelscéal, has a report in this weeks issue which tries to give the flavour of the event.
Like all journalism it is perhaps concentrating on the contest and possible signs of division, young versus old, even Munster versus the rest. Certainly the election prospect seems to have galvanised attendance at this years event. The re-elected President (and indeed his opponent) were anxious that no bitterness should follow a keenly fought campaign. When asked about possible divisions he said firmly that he didn't want to continue in that vein at all . "I am not in the Conradh for controversy," he said. "I am in Conradh na Gaeilge for the work, for the unity, to put pressure on the civil servants that are against us. I wish to make it clear that I am not in the Conradh to foment disputes." The defeated candidate concurred and he vowed to continue his work with Pádraigh for the Conradh in the enthusiastic spirit of his campaign.
The re-elected President, Pádraigh Mac Fhearghusa, made a very spirited and indeed feisty address to the delegates. Possible, according to some sources, a much more envigourated speech that that he made as an election. He emphasised how welcome the young generation was to this, one of the oldest national movements, only Cumann Luathcleas Gael is older. He emphasised particularly the civil service. He obviously feels the antipathy emanating from some of these servants of the state. "Do you regard Irish as a fully human language?" he asked.
Clearly he understands the incredible damage that the intransigence of the state beaurocracy has done to the language, the most important still living part of our heritage.
Clearly as the Conradh advances into it's second century it is far from moribund and intends to take its rightful place again as the inspiration of the ancient Gaelic nation. An old fashioned notion?
Let's watch and see.
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