Friday, 23 April 2010

Celtic Media Festival

The Celtic Media Festival has been taking place this week in Newry and I was invited by Cathal Goan to attend and officially open the annual festival.  This is the 31st year of the festival, which involves Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany, and it has previously been held in Belfast, Newcastle and Londonderry.

In the course of my address I spoke about the importance of the film and television industry and the new media as core elements in our creative industries and also provided an update on the DCMS funding for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund and the new Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.

Towards the end and in the context of some remarks about a 'shared and better future' I referred to the way in which the festival organisers described the participating countries as 'Celtic nations'.  If we are to recongise and respect the cultural diversity of Northern Ireland, is it appropriate to describe us as a Celtic nation?  Yes, there are some people who speak a Celtic language and there are many people who will regard themselves as culturally Celtic or even ethnically Celtic but that represents only one element in our diversity.  Is there not a need for a terminology that recognises that important fact?

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