Winter 1998


Those who to-day reap the harvest of the traditional musicians and dancers of yesterday (who ploughed the field and sowed the seed) should be magnanimous in giving credit to those who never wavered in the face of challenge or derision. It was often a lonely furrow that these men and women of bardic qualities sought to cultivate. They bequeathed to the nation a cultural legacy of immeasurable value - the full potential of which has not yet been realised.

The up-coming substantive legislation on copyright law must ensure that there is no loophole which would allow the corpus of Irish traditional music, handed down from generation to generation, to be copyrighted or hijacked by commercial concerns and removed from the people. This music and folklore in general, like a national treasure, is the property of all the nation and must be enshrined as such in any new legislation. It is a legacy of this generation and future generations for all time - freely accessible and unimpeded like the very fresh air which we breathe as our birthright.

The more a nation highlights and supports its cultural and artistic heritage the less conducive an environment there is for negativity, vulgarity or cynicism. Those who deem culture and art as merely peripheral to everyday life do an injustice to our young generation who thrive on such pursuits.

The new millennium will provide us with a new opportunity and challenge to reflect the progress which has been made, particularly at community level, to balance our material gains with our cultural aspirations. Seldom has there been more goodwill evident among the public for an increased awareness and status for art and culture - the yeast of human ambitions which seek to cherish all the children of the nation equally, measuring a person’s worth by merit rather than money.