A new dawn for Comhaltas

The progress on the implementation of the Comhaltas Development Programme has been generously acknowledged as exceptional by any standards.

By Comhaltas

A new dawn for Comhaltas
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The next challenge is to build on this progress and to push out the parameters still further.

The Programme is an innovative and visionary response to the challenges and opportunities which the cultural movement encounters in a fast-changing world. The Programme, which is funded by the Government, has as its core the Meitheal engine which is project driven based on initiative and innovation and supported by an extended staff structure.

The Development Programme is now at an advanced stage. Regional Resource Centres in Sligo, Clare, Tipperary and Dublin are now open for business. Two more Regional Resource Centres at the Old Gaol, Dundalk, and Clasach, Clontarf will be operational early in 2008. In addition, there are 9 outreach local centres all promoting the cultural traditions of Ireland in their local communities.

Comhaltas is a long established 32 County cultural movement and a further Regional Resource Centre will be initiated in the Six County area.

The Programme is also focused on the Irish Diaspora in response to the needs and aspirations of Comhaltas in 15 countries on 4 continents.

The extensive and varied nature of the Comhaltas work programme is reflected in the new state-of-the- art bi-lingual website: http//www.comhaltas.ie which was made possible by the Development Programme funding. The weekly ComhaltasLive TV programme is available free of charge on the website.

In addition, 16,000 exclusive music items and 8,000 photographs have been digitised in the Comhaltas National Archive in preparation for the decentralisation of the Archive.

Over 150 major projects have now been funded nationwide and abroad under the Programme. This has been further augmented by DÍON funding for Comhaltas in Britain. Minister Dermot Ahern has announced that this year the grant will be in the region of €200,000.

Underpinning the success story of Comhaltas over the last half century is its multi-faceted education programme which consists of six strands and this has revolutionised the passing on of our cultural traditions from generation to generation. The elements are 1,000 classes each week; the TTCT Diploma Course with about 700 teachers qualified; the SCT graded examinations; Scoil Éigse summer college where promising students learn from the ‘Masters’; the Fleadh Cheoil validation network with 25,000 participants each year; and the Performance Certification programme.

To review the first stages of the Development Programme and to plan for future years, the Ardchomhairle arranged a meeting at Cultúrlann na hÉireann to be attended by the Ardchomhairle, sub-committees and Meitheal members.