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Irish Language Activist Aodán Mac Póilin Commemorated with Launch of Bursary
16 Nov 2017 :
Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) and the Celtic Media Festival this afternoon announced a new bursary fund to commemorate the late Aodán Mac Póilin. Details of ‘Ciste Cuimhneacháin Aodáin Mhic Phóilin’ were announced as part of the Belfast Media Festival.

‘Ciste Cuimhneacháin Aodáin Mhic Phóilin’ will offer Irish speakers working in the production sector in Northern Ireland the opportunity to develop a television project that would reflect some or many of the wide and varied interests of the former ILBF chair Aodán Mac Póilin. As well as £5,000 development funding, successful applicants will also travel to the Celtic Media Festival in Llanelli, Wales next May to pitch the project to broadcasters.

Applications from those who are relatively new to the sector and who have not yet attended the Celtic Media Festival are particularly encouraged.  Applications will be selected by the ILBF Investment Committee and broadcaster representatives.  Successful applicants can also apply for production funding through the ILBF funding rounds.

Aodán was a passionate and articulate advocate for the Irish language and spent his life working with, and for, the language.  As Director of the ULTACH Trust, he laid much of the groundwork for cross-community engagement with the language in the early 1990s. Under his leadership the Trust made a significant contribution to the growth of Irish-medium education and played a critical role in improving provision for the arts and in television broadcasting.  Aodán’s prescience, led, for example, to early lobbying for the inclusion of TG4, along with RTE 1 and 2, on fledgling NTL cable services which were being introduced in the early 90s.  Aodán convinced then government department DCAL to set up the first training scheme in television production for Irish speakers in Northern Ireland and was instrumental in the formation of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund.  He chaired the ILBF investment committee as a board member of Northern Ireland Screen, right up to his untimely death in December 2016. 

Aodán was a stalwart of the Celtic Media Festival, rarely missing an opportunity to attend over its 38 year history.  He was a lively and passionate contributor to panel discussions at the festival, and his love for language, literature and song was always strongly evident. 

Aodán also contributed many articles to academic journals, magazines, books and the local press during his career. A collection of his essays on language and cultural issues is currently being prepared by ULTACH Trust.

Áine Walsh, Head of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, said:

“The loss of Aodán has been felt throughout the Irish language community and beyond.  He is missed for his vast and wonderful knowledge on a variety of topics, his vocal support of Irish language and cultural issues and his infinite sense of humour and fun.  This great his loss to the Irish language community, however, is minimal to that of the loss felt by Aodán’s family, his wife Áine, his daughter Aoife and his grandsons in particular.  We are delighted that his family are able to join us today as we launch Ciste Cuimhneacháin Aodáin Mhic Phóilin and we are so pleased that we are supporting a bursary in his name.”

Further details of Ciste Cuimhneacháin Aodáin Mhic Phóilin and how to apply are available here

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