Three Irish language schools opened
Three Irish language schools in Belfast were officially opened by Education Minister Martin McGuinness and the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams in the past week.
Standing in for McGuinness, Adams opened Gaelscoil Na Mona in Turf Lodge on Friday 8 December. Accompanied by one of the first pupils to pass through the school's doors, Grainne Shannon, the Sinn Féin president praised the efforts of the school's governors, teachers, parents and pupils for their work over the years.
On Monday, 11 December, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness opened two other Irish language schools in Belfast, one on the Lower Ormeau Road and the other at the 174 Trust on the Antrim Road in North Belfast.
Mairtín MacCathmhaoil of Bunscoil Mhic Reachtáin in the New Lodge praised McGuinness for performing the opening ceremony in one of the most disadvantaged areas in the North.
On the Lower Ormeau Road, Larionad an Droichead was officially opened by McGuinness in a ceremony also attended by Mairéad Ní Mhairtín of Foras na Gaeilge and Liam Ó Maonlaí of the Hothouse Flowers. Said Pat Keenan, chair of the new school: ``This site was a wasteland for years. It is now a thriving focal point for the communities of South and East Belfast. We have forged a high quality educational system through our own efforts.''
Louth, Newry and Armagh Hunger Strike Committee launched
The official launch of the Louth, Newry and Armagh Hunger Strike Committee took place in the Ravensdale House on Monday, 11 December. During the launch, a calender of events was announced, which include the unveiling of a permanent monument to the hunger strikers at Ford's Cross in South Armagh in March next year.
Speaking at the launch, former blanket prisoner John Connolly, who chaired the meeting, pointed out that `` a lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes to enable us to be in the position we are in today. We hope to make all the events of the coming year as inclusive as possible to encourage everyone to take ownership of this historic occasion.
``No one else is going to write our history for us. The days of republicans making history and others writing it up are long gone''.
Among those who attended the meeting were Bridie Higgins, Raymond McCreesh's sister; Freddie Toal from Armagh City, also a former blanket protester; Paddy Agnew, who was elected as TD for the Louth area during the Hunger Strike; former South Armagh Hunger Striker Paddy Quinn; former Armagh POW Eileen Morgan from Newry; and Brian Tumilty, another former POW and now project manager for Cumann na Meirleach, the South Armagh ex-prisoners group.