One of the largest shopping centres in the west of Ireland, Ionad na Faiche Móire/ Eyre Square Centre, located in the heart of Galway City, was named as the overall winner of Galway’s bilingual business award - Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh which is sponsored by the Galway Advertiser.
Aire Stáit sa Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gnóthaí Réigiúnacha, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, Seán Kyne TD made the annoucement at a special awards ceremony that took place in the Salthill Hotel on Monday. The award ceremony marked the pinnacle of Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s celebrations of 30 years in business and applauds the outstanding efforts of the business community promoting ‘An Ghaeilge’ in Ireland’s Bilingual City and European Capital of Culture 2020.
Ionad na Faiche Móire/Eyre Square Centre was named as the winner of the ‘Retail’ Category sponsored by Galway Bay FM and went on to scoop the overall award on the night. The Eyre Square Centre has been involved with the Gradam for a number of years. The majority of signage throughout the Centre is bilingual, their adverts, website and Facebook all incorporate the Irish language as does each event held in the Centre. In the past year, customers are greeted with a ‘Fáilte’ as well as new bilingual signage in the recently developed main entrance where you can also see the Irish version of their logo. The Irish language can be heard on the PA system and is a feature of the children’s play area -Tír na nÓg.
They have sought to influence the tenants in the Centre which has resulted in well-known and local brands such as DIESEL, Maple Moose, Penney’s and XL embrace the Irish language in their stores. It is now part of their policy to encourage new businesses locating in the Centre to use ‘An Ghaeilge’.
The other category winners for Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh 2017 were:
The Connacht Hotel winner of the ‘Tourism & Hospitality’ Category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland
Lorg Media winner of the ‘Services Category’, sponsored by Snap Galway
Carey Building Contractors,winner of the ‘Other Companies’ Category sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh.
Speaking about the judging process, An tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Cathaoirleach an Phainéal Moltóireachta said:
“Is é an rud is mó ar thug muid suntas dó ná an chinnteacht go bhfuil todhchaí maith i ndán don Ghaeilge, go bhfuil sí á húsáid i ngnólachtaí úra fuinniúla agus go mbeidh sí ina dlúthchuid dá straitéis amach anseo.
“What stood out the most for us was the reassurance that “Irish has a future”. These businesses have adopted a creative and dynamic approach to the language and is very much part of their strategy going forward. It is not necessarily an after-thought.
In addition to ‘reach’, ‘influence’ was another word that came to mind throughout the process. Owners/Senior Managers, particularly didn’t see the use of the language confined to their own business but felt a sense of responsibility to promote and use the language outside of their companies. This shows that even businesses who are not participating in the award are being influenced by the Gradam,” he said.
Speaking at the Gradam Award, Seán Kyne TD, Aire Stáit do Ghnóthaí Gaeltachta said he is well aware of the work of Gaillimh le Gaeilge.
“Is léir ón méid atá ráite agus atá le feiceáil anseo anocht go bhfuil an Gradam ina dhlúthchuid agus mar uirlis rí-thábhachtach don cháil atá ar Ghaillimh mar chathair dhátheangach na hÉireann agus mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa in 2020.
“I’m well aware of the work of Gaillimh le Gaeilge and have been to many of your events in the past. It’s a great honour to be here today as Aire Stáit na Gaeltachta, in my own constituency, chun Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh a bhronnadh.”
He went on to announce Gaillimh le Gaeilge as the ‘Ceanneagraíocht’ to prepare and implement a language plan for Galway city under the Language Planning Process. This will be undertaken in collaboration with stakeholders such as Galway City Council. He went on to say that the language plan for the city is certain to help and strengthen the Irish language and will also help to consolidate Galway’s cultural, Irish brand for the future.
The Gradam winners all received a business package to the value of €2,000 from their respective category sponsor as well as a replica of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh sponsored by Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Ionad na Faiche Móire/ Eyre Square Centre will receive an advertising package to the value of €2,000 from the main media sponsor of the Gradam, the Galway Advertiser. They will also receive a publicity package with TG4, a series of four Web Strategy workshops sponsored by ARÓ Internet Business Development and one year’s membership of Galway Chamber and Gaillimh le Gaeilge.
They also receive Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh, a beautiful piece of sculpture specially designed by the famous artist Pádraic Reaney symbolising the 14 Tribes of Galway, with one ‘present day Tribe’ representing the winner of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh 2017 and other winners to come.
Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey, congratulated all of the winners and commended their bilingual work. She went on to say:
“Bhí caighdeán ainmniúcháin an Ghradaim an-ard agus ó thaobh s’againne de, sin scéal an-mhaith i gcónaí, ní amháin do cháil an Ghradaim ach do staid agus ról na Gaeilge i bhforbairt thodhchaí na Gaillimhe. Galway businesses and organisations, across a wide range of sectors, see how the Irish language can work for them, ensuring the success of the Gradam and our bilingual city. Our continued use of the Irish language is also of particularly importance with the European Capital of Culture 2020 on the way.”
Past President of the Galway Chamber, Conor O’Dowd also spoke at the event saying that this integration of the Irish language is enormously important to our cultural uniqueness and the distinct atmosphere of Galway city which in turn makes us the premier location for international investment as well as the top destination for high yield, all year round tourism. This can contribute to Galway city creating a sustainable competitive advantage in attracting investment.”
A reflection of the high standard of entries this year is Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, a special award designed to acknowledge a business who has entered the Gradam for the first time and has achieved a very high standard which could not go unrecognised. This award, sponsored by Judy Greene Pottery was presented to Mary’s Fish, Gaillimh. They have incorporated Irish onto their signage, vans, radio adverts and promotes a ‘Seirbhís i nGaeilge’.
The Moltóirí also bestowed a University Scholarship sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh on a business that is making a special effort to promote and use the Irish language with their clients and tenants. PorterShedwas presented with a two year scholarship on the language acquisition course, ‘An Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge’, a university qualification from NUI Galway.
Ba mhaith le Gaillimh le Gaeilge buíochas a ghabháil leis na hainmnithe ar fad a ghlac páirt i nGradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh i mbliana agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le hIonad na Faiche Móire!