Northern Ireland news

Irish language activist Albert Fry dies aged 80

Irish language activist Albert Fry has died aged 80
Connla Young

Irish language activist and former Antrim GAA player Albert Fry has died aged 80.

The north Belfast man was well known for his love of the language and music of Ireland.

Friends say he passed away from natural causes in the Mater Hospital yesterday.

The son of a Birmingham born former British soldier, he was brought up in the North Queen Street area.

A former member of the Pearses GAA club in north Belfast, he was part of the Saffron County squad in the late 50s and early 60s.

He also turned out for Rann na Feirste in Donegal.

Chairman of Cumann Chluain Ard, Belfast, Dr Séamus Ó Donnghaile paid tribute to his late friend last night.

"In his professional life he was very successful structural engineer with offices in Belfast, Derry and his company worked around these islands and Asia," he said.

Dr Ó Donnghaile said Mr Fry was a "key figure in the Irish language family in the dark days" and was the first man from Ulster serve as president of Conradh na Gaeilge between 1979-81.

"He introduced generations of young people to an authentic form of the Irish language," he said.

"He was an influencer.

"He took young people under his wing and instilled in us the importance of education and the freedom that brings."

Dr Ó Donnghaile said Mr Fry believed the Irish language was for everyone.

"He said the Irish language predates Christianity and the reformation and has no place in the immature political arguments we see today," he said.

Irish News Irish language editor, Robert McMillen said Mr Fry was an inspiration not only to himself but to generations of Irish speakers and learners in Belfast and beyond.

“He and others put in the hard graft of teaching people Irish - on a voluntary basis - while making learners of all ages and from all backgrounds, feel at home in Cumann Chluain Árd in Hawthorn Street in the city."

He added that Mr Fry was a "talented singer" and had several music series on RTÉ television in the 1970s.

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