, Belfast’s award-winning Irish language community radio station took another major step forward in its plans to build a new Irish language media, broadcasting and training centre, when planning permission was granted by Belfast City council for the proposal.
The planned new centre, at the junction of the Falls Road and the Westlink, will house new facilities for the Irish language community radio station as well as visitor and community spaces. The capital investment of almost two million pounds has received support from Belfast City Council, Department for Communities and An Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge, as well as from the NI Housing Executive and Department for Infrastructure.Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín, director of Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge, who are contributing £375,000 to the project, is delighted that the project has reached this important milestone.
“This has been a long bureaucratic process and Ciste has been proudly behind this project for almost five years. Comhghairdeas mór to all the team at Raidió Fáilte who have worked tirelessly for so long. This is only the beginning as Ciste are involved in £6.2 million of Irish language community capital projects in West Belfast,” added Caoimhín.Fergus Ó hÍr, station manager of Raidió Fáilte said, “The new centre will be a major boost for the growing Irish language community throughout the city and further afield and will prove to be a major asset to learners of the language and those interested in Irish music and culture generally.” The new building, which will be known as Líonra Uladh, will contribute to a major refurbishment of the Lower Falls area and Divis area.
Councillor Jim McVeigh said,“We are delighted that the new Raidió Fáilte – Líonra Uladh project has received planning permission. Belfast City Council have funded this project from our City Investment Fund. We contributed £1 million to the project.
We are confident that this project will be a fantastic community facility that will promote our language but also create employment and training opportunities for our young people.”
Raidió Fáilte is a community station which was awarded a community broadcast licence 10 years ago. As a community station Raidió Fáilte has been giving a strong Irish language voice across local communities and has been providing skills training to many people who are interested in broadcasting with the station as volunteer broadcasters. Many of those who received training with the station have gone on to take up important media positions at home and abroad. The exciting new facilities will allow the station to increase and improve its service both in terms of broadcasting and training.The high standards achieved by Raidió Fáilte has been recognised by a number of prestigious awards which the station has won. The most recent award was in September when Raidió Fáilte received the 2016 Silver Award at the Community Radio Awards in Birmingham.
Above pictured from right to left – Fergus Ó hÍr (Bainisteoir Stáisiúin Raidió Fáilte 107.1FM), Paul Reid (Senior Principal Officer NIHE), Councillor Mary McConville (Sinn Féin) Michelle Bagnall (Project Sponsor Officer Belfast City Council) Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín (Stiúrthóir An Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge) sitting, Councillor Jim McVeigh (Sinn Féin)