The organising committee of Éigse Loch Lao has convened their annual conference on the Belfast Campus on 19 October 2019. This year's theme was Language Planning in the Irish Language, a topical theme and a North-South governmental policy that is gaining momentum with language plans being drawn up for the Irish speaking areas (Gaeltachtaí), for Gaeltacht Service towns and for Irish language networks both North and South.
The conference began with an overview from Hannah Ní Dhoimhín of the theory of language planning followed by an explanation of the context in which the language planning policy is being implemented.
This was added to by Gearóid Trimble who explained in more detail how the North-South Language body, Foras na Gaeilge, are involved in facilitating of groups to create these plans.
The second session gave the attending scholars and general public a feel for the types of activities being carried out in the main Gaeltacht areas while the third session did likewise for areas that are not in the Gaeltacht. The final session of the day included lively debate about best practice in relation to language planning on the micro and macro level and a discussion of the problems specific to language planning in the North given the political vacuum in which this work is taking place.
The event was concluded with a concert at Áras Mhic Reachtain; performers included Brian Ó hEadhra, Fiona Mackenzie and others. We are grateful to Foras na Gaeilge for financial support towards the organisation and convening of the conference and to the Belfast Arts Festival for its assistance in promoting this truly enlightening and worthwhile event.