The Gaeltacht Quarter/An Cheathrú Ghaeltachta: Pilib Ó Ruanaí

Pilib Ó Ruanaí was released from prison in 1985 and began working with others to establish Irish medium education. He supported the establishment of an Irish nursery school for both the Markets and Short Strand areas of Belfast.

The school, Naíscoil an Droichead, was established in a snooker hall in 1991. There were some odd requirements because of it being in the snooker hall, such as the children not being allowed to play with sand and water. A primary school was later established called An Droichead, which translates in English to The Bridge. It was located in the Lower Ormeau community and was so named as it was seen as the physical link between the Markets, Short Strand and the Lower Ormeau communities.

Pilib is Chief Executive of Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta (the Trust Fund for Irish-Medium Education), which was established in February 2001 as a consequence of the Good Friday Agreement to help provide a financial foundation for the development and support of Irish-Medium Education.

The Belfast Gaeltacht Quarter (An Cheathrú Ghaeltachta) is an area in the west of the city with the aim of promoting the Irish language, attracting enterprise, tourism and wealth to a largely socially and economically deprived area.

Proposals for a Gaeltacht Quarter began in 2002 as a recommendation of the Joint West Belfast/Greater Shankill Task Force. The plan was then adopted by Government and Belfast City Council.

This is one of a series of interviews which explores the challenges and successes to date.

Subtitled in English.

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