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Republicís Culture Minister goes on air with...

23 December 2009

THE Ullans Centre on Victoria Street got a surprise visitor recently when the Southís Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs, …amon ” CuŪv T.D. dropped in for a quick visit.

Minister Ó Cuív was attending the north-south Ministerial meeting in Limavady and when he heard that the Ullans Centre Project Manager had asked to speak to him he decided to nip over for an impromptu meeting.

Commenting at the time Minister said: “We were in Limavady at the north-south meeting and Ann Smyth had asked to meet me so I said yes. It’s very convenient and I'm delighted to be here this evening.”

Eamon Ó Cuív is the grandson of the founding father of the Irish Republic Eamon De Valera. He told The Chronicle how the southern connection with the Ullans centre had been established through fUSe fm, he said: “The connection with this centre arose when representatives of the Ballymoney community radio went to the ploughing championships in Connemara and met the people involved in Connemara community radio. I think that forged a deep friendship and an important context.”

When asked about the importance of the Ullans Centre he said: “I believe in heritage anyway and I think we should all know where we came from and who we are. I think it would be a great loss to everybody if we were to lose indigenous heritage, what with the changing world, with globalization, it’s very easy to lose”.

Minister Ó Cuív
continued “My full support is given always to the protection of this heritage. The north-south bodies including the Ulster-Scots Agency are important and I believe it’s very important to give full support to the Agency and the work that it is doing. It is protecting a part of the heritage that I think probably was over looked over the years officially.  I think we all have a lot to learn from each other what I find going around is that I always go home with good ideas and I hope we can share experiences that will be of benefit to everyone.”

Project Manager at the Ullans Centre, Ms Anne Smyth said: “He invited us to Connemara earlier in the year to talk in ‘oore ain tongue’ on his own community radio down there. It was a great experience. I requested a meeting with him a couple of months ago and he was happy to oblige. It was great having him here and showing him around the Ullans Centre and the fUSe fm radio station. We talked about our love of Ulster-Scots and how radio is a key medium in promoting language. He is a great person, very witty, and has a wealth of knowledge.”

A further meeting is planned to discuss various future plans in Monreagh soon.    

Local DUP Mervyn Storey MLA, who also attended said “I am always glad to welcome anyone who comes to Ballymoney with the best interests of the town at heart. I have had a long friendship with Eamon Ó Cuív going back a good number of years.  It’s a great opportunity to have a conversation about the issues of importance to the Ullans Centre given that he is the co-chair (with my party colleague Nelson McCausland) of the north-south body that deals with the Ulster-Scots Agency”.

He continued “It was an important event and we had a conversation about the future of funding of projects, both the centre in Ballymoney and also at Monreagh in Donegal.  Both Eamon Ó Cuív and myself went on fUSe fm radio - that was a first. He was impressed by the commitment of The Ullans and fUSe staff.  It’s very important to build on the success and progress something that is a very important and integral part of the fabric here in Ballymoney.”

Story and photo courtesy of ‘The Coleraine Chronicle’