Other Questions

Scéim Áiseanna Pobail agus Teanga

Catherine Connolly

Question:

24. <PreAsk>D'fhiafraigh </PreAsk>Deputy Catherine Connolly den an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cad é stádas phlean na Gaillimhe chun aitheantas mar Bhaile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta a bhaint amach; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [20134/18]

Ceist shimplí dhíreach atá anseo. Cá bhfuil stádas phlean na Gaillimhe chun aitheantas mar Bhaile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta a bhaint amach?

Tugann Acht na Gaeltachta 2012 feidhm reachtúil don phróiseas pleanála teanga faoina mbeidh pleananna teanga á n-ullmhú ag leibhéal an phobail i leith ceantair a bhféadfaí aitheantas a thabhairt dóibh mar Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta, mar Bhailte Seirbhíse Gaeltachta nó mar Líonraí Gaeilge.

Faoi réir an fhógra a rinneadh i gcomhréir le foráil 9(2) den Acht in 2016, tugadh an deis d'eagraíochtaí a bhí cáilithe go cuí iarratas a dhéanamh le Foras na Gaeilge le bheith freagrach as plean teanga a ullmhú agus a fheidhmiú do Chathair na Gaillimhe.

De thoradh próiseas roghnúcháin a eagraíodh ina dhiaidh sin, i gcomhréir leis an Acht, roghnaíodh an eagraíocht Gaillimh le Gaeilge in 2017 don chúram, i gcomhar le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe. Faoi réir an Achta, tá suas le dhá bhliain ag an eagraíocht chun an plean a ullmhú agus, i gcás nach leor an tréimhse sin, is féidir breis ama a cheadú más gá.

A luaithe go gcuirfear plean faoi mo bhráid agus go gceadófar é, beidh tréimhse seacht mbliana ann chun é a chur i bhfeidhm. Tuigtear don Roinn go bhfuil an Gaillimh le Gaeilge i mbun comhairle ghairmiúil a lorg faoi láthair chun cabhrú leo le hullmhú an phlean. Faoi réir na socruithe a bhaineann le cur i bhfeidhm an phróisis, beidh fáil ar chomhairle agus cuidiú ag an eagraíocht ó Fhoras na Gaeilge, ní hamháin mar a bhaineann sé leis an obair ullmhúcháin atá idir lámha ach mar a bhaineann sé chomh maith le feidhmiú an phlean aontaithe i ndeireadh báire.

Ar nós na mbailte eile atá mar chuid den phróiseas, tá ciste ar fiú €20,000 curtha ar fáil do Ghaillimh le Gaeilge chun an plean a ullmhú.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire as ucht stair an phróisis. Ní raibh sé sin ag teastáil uaim - tá sé agam. An rud atá ag teastáil uaim ná an staid in a bhfuil sé faoi láthair. Arís tá an freagra ceannann céanna a thabhairt: tá siad i mbun ullmhúcháin agus ag lorg duine faoi leith. Níl Gaillimh cosúil le chuile bhaile eile. Is cathair dhátheangach í, ar thairseach na Gaeltachta is mó sa tír, agus chomh maith leis sin tá aitheantas ar leith bainte amach ag Gaillimh mar Phríomhchathair Chultúrtha na hEorpa 2020. Ar chuile leibhéal tá gá leis an stádas seo a bhaint amach níos sciobtha. Tá meas faoi leith ag an eagraíocht Gaillimh le Gaeilge agus tá obair na gcapall déanta acu le fada an lá. Cén fáth a bhfuil moill ar an bpróiseas? Cá bhfuil stádas an phlean seo go díreach?

Is é an t-ábhar a bhí ag lua agus na sonraí a bhí agamsa ná an €20,000 atá i gceist le Gaillimh le Gaeilge agus tá meas mór agam maidir leis an dream Gaillimh le Gaeilge. Chas mé leo cúpla bliain ó shin agus tá siadsan freagrach agus rinne siad sár-jab agus sár-obair thar na blianta i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus tá an Ghaeilge le feiceáil dá bharr. Tá an Ghaeilge le feiceáil istigh sa Ghaeltacht i nGaillimh agus taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht. Tá Gaillimh le Gaeilge cosúil le mo bhaile i Leitir Ceanainn fosta.

Tá Leitir Ceanainn ag déanamh a ndícheall, mar a bhfuil Daingean Uí Chúis. Tá sé ag bogadh ar aghaidh. Tá dá bhliain caite ag ullmhú an phlean agus ina dhiaidh sin beidh seacht mbliana i gceist maidir le cur i bhfeidhm an phlean. Beidh mé sásta sonraí breise a chur ar fáil más rud é go bhfuil siad de dhíth.

Heritage Promotion

Martin Heydon

Question:

25. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the role her Department plays in the protection and promotion of heritage crafts here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20056/18]

Tá an Teachta O’Dowd chun déileáil le ceist Uimh. 25.

What is the role of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the protection and promotion of heritage crafts and will the Minister make a statement on the matter?

Heritage crafts are just one part of the rich intangible cultural heritage of our nation. These crafts and skills are transmitted from generation to generation and constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history. They contribute to our sense of identity and continuity, respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. Heritage crafts include practices from traditional building skills in thatching, stonework and boat building, to lace-making and making hurleys and musical instruments such as harps and uilleann pipes. Heritage crafts also include textile work such as spinning fleece, weaving and felting, rush and straw craft, rope making, traditional woodwork and heritage gardening.

My Department protects and promotes heritage crafts through a number of avenues. The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, provides grants for the protection and preservation of the national heritage. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports annually, having regard to competing priorities for limited resources. Grant schemes are advertised by the Heritage Council on its website.

The Heritage Council's heritage in schools scheme also promotes children's engagement with heritage crafts. This scheme makes available to primary schools a current panel of 160 heritage experts, including experts in traditional crafts who visit primary schools to work directly with the pupils. The scheme currently reaches nearly 100,000 primary school pupils over the course of 2,000 school visits each year. The value of the scheme is in the richness and depth of knowledge it makes available to children and teachers, engaging children in a direct experience of their heritage, preferably outside the classroom, where possible and appropriate. Practitioners of crafts are themselves part of the living heritage.

I welcome the Minister's reply. I agree it is hugely important to retain these crafts, which are there since time immemorial. As generations pass on, it is very important that whatever residual information there is in regard to these crafts is protected, and I welcome that.

I point out there was a ceardlann or craft centre at the Údarás na Gaeltachta centre outside Dingle. Such places are very important, particularly as sources of employment and tourism. I urge the Minister to continue her work in this area. Perhaps she might comment on the making of craft beer, which is returning on a huge scale throughout the country. It is a renewal of old skills. If we have a plan or a model, we should try to follow it. I welcome the work the Heritage Council is doing.

I am not sure that craft beer falls under the remit of heritage crafts.

According to some, it does.

I am not too familiar with it myself but I will bow to the Deputy's advice on that. I thank him for his contribution. Active practitioners of crafts throughout the country who are carrying on any type of tradition that I delineated, and who wish for it to be recognised as part of our national cultural heritage, may wish to consider submitting an expression of interest to my Department's national inventory of intangible cultural heritage, an open call for which is currently under way.

My understanding is that Deputy Heydon's wife is otherwise engaged at the moment and that is why he is not here today. We hope there will be good news over the next couple of days for them and I wish them all the best. I had some details in regard to Kildare for Deputy Heydon. Kathleen McCormick is a fantastic willow basket maker in County Kildare. She grows and harvests the willow herself and is involved in several exhibitions in Kildare, and I wanted to mention her.

Heritage Promotion

Robert Troy

Question:

26. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the supports that her Department can make available to towns wishing to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. [20141/18]

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann plays a very important role in nurturing, supporting and developing Ireland’s rich heritage in traditional music, dance and the Irish language. Now in its 66th year, the organisation has a growing international network and contributes significantly to our reputation abroad as a culturally rich nation. Its work in Ireland has undoubtedly sustained and grown participation and enjoyment of Irish music, dance and the Irish language. Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is central to all these endeavours.

Recognising the critical role which Comhaltas plays in supporting our traditional heritage, my Department provides ongoing financial support to the organisation. In 2018, my Department has allocated €1.6 million to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann towards operational costs and onward support of regional branches and county boards. Typically, regional branches organise their local fleadhanna cheoil and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is organised by the ard-chomhairle of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

This represents significant ongoing support in regard to all activities organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann at both national and local level and to the benefit of any town chosen to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. As we will see this year in Drogheda, and in recent years in towns including Sligo, Ennis and Derry in Northern Ireland, the scale of the fleadh requires significant engagement and support from the relevant local authority. I know this is willingly given by local authorities as they are aware of the prestige and other benefits which hosting the fleadh brings to the local area. In this regard, I see the role of my Department, in addition to the major funding provided to Comhaltas itself, as supporting local authority capacity to develop cultural engagement and creativity locally. This is in keeping with pillar 2 of the Creative Ireland programme, Enabling Creativity in Every Community, in which all local authorities are important partners.

As the Minister knows, Comhaltas was founded in 1951 in my home town of Mullingar and it has gone from strength to strength over the last decades. The Minister is right that the work it does internationally in promoting our rich heritage and culture of music, dance and the Irish language is second to none. When it comes to a town, the national fleadh is magnificent. It attracts 400,000 attendees and brings some €40 million to the region. Of the 400,000 attendees, 25% are international visitors coming to our island. It is second after St. Patrick's weekend in terms of the level of festivities involved.

The Minister confirmed that the Department funds Comhaltas annually. Given the huge significance of the fleadh to Ireland nationally and on the international stage, will she consider making specific departmental funding available to towns? Despite working in partnership with the local authority, it still involves a large cost to host the all-Ireland fleadh in any town.

I fully support Deputy Troy. The fleadh is coming to Drogheda this year and, as the Deputy rightly points out, there will be more than 400,000 visitors. The €1.6 million for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is very welcome.

There is a need, however, to look again at the infrastructure in any town that has to transform itself for a massive number of visitors, particularly in terms of tidy towns and improving shopfronts. The presentation of the towns is very important. Additional funding would be helpful and useful. The Minister might consider, in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, where money might be available. It is a big burden but we in Drogheda are very proud of getting it and we tend to do a fantastic job.

How are the coffers in the Department?

I hope the fleadh gives great enjoyment in Drogheda. I note what Deputy Troy says about Mullingar founding the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in 1951. Mullingar hosted the all-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 1963. There is interest in Mullingar in applying to host the Fleadh Cheoil in the future.

This year a sum of €3 million in total, comprising €2 million from my Department and €1 million from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, was allocated to all 31 local authorities. This will enable them to implement the objectives contained in their five-year culture and creativity strategies and support an accompanying programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county, including building capacity to host local, provincial and national fleadhanna. There is also the small-scale festivals and summer schools scheme which commenced formally in 2017. The funding is reserved for appropriate festivals, summer schools and other similar events. It is designed to support local cultural festivals and those which are not in receipt of other public moneys and which may not be eligible under funding criteria for large-scale events supported by Fáilte Ireland, the Arts Council and similar bodies. These projects make a very important contribution to the development and promotion of Ireland's cultural tourism offering to the benefit of the domestic and foreign tourists which Deputy Troy mentioned, and will represent an important component of the delivery of the culture and tourism commitments in the programme for Government. The total amount available to this fund is €75,000 and the maximum amount per applicant is proposed to be in the order of €5,000. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.

The Minister has outlined certain streams of funding available but the national fleadh would not be able to avail of any of them. We hope in Mullingar to make a successful bid for 2020 or 2021 at the next available opportunity.

This is does not affect Mullingar only. It affects any provincial town that has to host a fleadh. It is a phenomenal festival with 400,000 visitors descending on a town for a week. It is worth €40 million to the local economy. There is nothing like it. A total of 100,000 international visitors come in for it. Given the work that Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is doing to promote heritage internationally and attract people to our country, the Minister should consider funding the host town to put on the fleadh. Whether it is Drogheda, Offaly, Tullamore, Sligo or Derry, they do a good job but they could do with some additional support and, in light of the great numbers they attract to the island, they should get greater support from the Government.

Core funding from the Department to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was in the region of €1.6 million for 2018. In 2015 and 2016 it was €1.448 million and in 2017 it was €1.5 million. It has gone up. The funding provided in 2017 to festivals and summer schools gave thousands of euro went to assist the following: Dublin Ghost Story Festival; Castleblayney Community Arts Festival; AE George Russell Seminar; Larry Reynolds Irish Music; Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School; O'Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival; Carrickmacross Arts Festival; James Joyce Summer School; Festival of Light; Parnell Summer School; Aimsir Summer School-Laragh Heritage Monaghan; Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival; Percy French Festival; Michael O'Cleirigh; Monaghan County Fleadh; Ed Reavy Traditional Irish Music Festival; Cootehill Arts Festival and Halloween Festival "Safe and Sounds". I was also happy to launch the Dublin fleadh on 23 April at the Lexicon library in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. The local group, Craobh Phiarais Uí Ghréagáin, which is based in Monkstown played beautiful music on that evening. I appreciate the value of the fleadh around the country and will continue to promote it as much as I can.

Cavan-Monaghan and Dublin South have been doing very well recently.

Seirbhísí Aeir Fóirdheonaithe

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

27. <PreAsk>D'fhiafraigh </PreAsk>Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cé mhéad a chaithfear ar aeriompar chuig na hoileáin i mbliana; cad iad na hoileáin atá i gceist; an dtabharfaidh sí an briseadh síos ar an gcaiteachas; an bhfuil sí sásta le caighdeán na seirbhísí atá á gcur ar fáil; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [19997/18]

Tá mé ag iarraidh a fháil amach ón Aire Stáit cé mhéad atá de chaitheamh ar aeriompar chuig na hoileáin. Caithfear tabhairt san áireamh an titim ollmhór atá ar líon na bpaisinéirí atá ag úsáid na seirbhísí go háirithe mar go bhfuil an tseirbhís i bhfad níos measa agus níos teoranta ná mar a bhíodh sé. Nuair a ghlaonn daoine ag iarraidh dul ar an eitleán, deirtear go bhfuil an t-eitleán lán.

Tá dhá seirbhís aeriompar de ardchaighdeán fóirdheonaithe ag mo Roinn, seirbhís faoi oibleagáid, seirbhísí poiblí a fhreastalaíonn ar Oileáin Árainn, Contae na Gaillimhe agus seirbhís ingearán do Thóraí, Contae Dún na nGall le linn an gheimhridh. Maidir le seirbhís ar Oileáin Árainn, meastar go gcaithfear €2.3 milliún air i 2018, comhdéanta mar seo a leanas: seirbhís aer PSO - €79,000; táillí tuirlinge paisinéirí iníocta le hAer Arann - €450,000; bainistiú aerfort Chonamara - €507,000; bainistiú aerfoirt ar na hoileáin - €486,000; rátaí ag na haeradróim ar na hoileáin - €6,000. Sin figiúir iomlán de €2.3 milliún. Tá an seirbhís ingearán do Thóraí comhmhaoinithe le haonad na Feidhmeannachta na Seirbhíse Sláinte agus faoi láthair cuirtear maoiniú ar fáil do seirbhísí seachtainiúil ó Mí na Samhna go Mí an Mhárta. Is buiséad bliantúil de €150,000 atá curtha ar fáil ag mo Roinn don tseirbhís seo. Tá mo Roinn ag fiosrú i láthair na huaire le Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte faoi féidirtheacht an seirbhís a leathnú amach ar feadh trí mhí eile, ach níl costas ar fáil do sin go fóill.

I gcás Oileán Thóraí, ar smaoinigh an tAire Stáit ar seirbhís seachtainiúil a chur ar fáil i gcaitheamh na bliain ar fad? Maidir le na hOileáin Árainn, an glacadh leis nach bhfuil caighdeán na seirbhísí atá ar fáil go dtí na hoileáin leagtha amach agus a bhí nuair a tháinig Fine Gael i gcumhacht sa bhliain 2011 agus go bhfuil sé imithe ar gcúl ar fad ó thaobh na n-oileáinaigh de?

Níl mé ábalta labhairt faoin gcomparáid mar ba é an chéad am a chonaic mé an seirbhís agus an ardchaighdeán ná nuair a tháinig mise isteach i 2014 mar Aire Stáit ar son na Gaeltachta. Roimhe sin agus go dtí seo, bhí mé agus tá mise i gcónaí i mbun labhartha le na daoine lonnaithe ar an oileán, mar shampla, na comharcumann agus daoine atá freagrach agus i gceannaireacht ar na hoileáin fosta. Tá siad i gcónaí ag labhairt fadúda tábhacht an seirbhís aer. Tuigim an tábhacht agus bhí conspóid mhór cúpla bliain ó shin maidir leis an scéal sin, ach anois tá mé ag amharc agus ag obair agus tá tábhacht na seirbhíse le feiceáil. Táim i gcónaí ag labhairt le mo comhghleacaí, an Aire Stáit, an Teachta Kyne, fosta agus leis an Teachta Ó Cuív féin. Tá seisean freagrach as an gceantar Dála fosta. Má bhfuil imní air nó ar aon duine maidir leis an seirbhís, beidh mé sásta suí síos le chéile leo.

Ar chuala an tAire Stáit ariamh an leagan Bodhaire Uí Laoghaire? Séard atá i gceist le Bodhaire Uí Laoghaire ná nuair nach dteastaíonn ó dhuine rud a chloisteáil. An bhfuil an tAire Stáit ag rá liomsa, nár chuala sé aon ghearán ó na hoileánaigh ó a chuir sé an conradh nua i bhfeidhm maidir leis an tarraingt siar iomlán atá i gceist ó thaobh líon na seirbhísí atá ar fáil go dtí na hOileáin Árainn?

An bhfuil an tAire ag rá liom nár chuala sé aon ghearán ó na hoileánaigh ó chuir sé an conradh nua i bhfeidhm maidir leis an tarraingt siar iomlán atá i gceist ó thaobh líon na seirbhísí atá ar fáil go dtí na hOileáin Árann? An bhfuil an tAire ag rá liom anseo inniu go bhfuil sé sásta casadh liomsa agus leis an Teachta Kyne agus leis na Teachtaí eile sa Dáilcheantar agus leis na hoileánaigh chun an cheist seo a phlé go luath? An bhfuil an tAire ag rá go bhfuil? Tacaím go mór roimhe sin, mar cheap mé féin ón méid a bhí ráite ag an Aire go mbeadh ionadh an tsaoil air faoi céard a déarfadh siad leis. Fáiltím roimh an ngeallúint sin. An smaoineodh an tAire ar sheirbhís bhliantúil a chur ar fáil d'Oileán Thoraí? An bhfuil freagra ag an Aire chun críochnú ar an ábhar seo?

Ar an dara hábhar maidir leis an gcruinniú a eagrú bheinn sásta é sin a dhéanamh, agus chomh maith leis sin, táim i gcónaí ag labhairt leis na daoine atá lonnaithe ar na hoileáin agus níl sé ceart go mbeadh imní ar na daoine agus dá mbeadh imní ar na daoine, bheinn sásta é sin a dhéanamh. An méid a bhí á rá agam inniu, cinnte gur chuala mé achan am nuair a bhí mé sa phost seo go mbeadh deacrachtaí agus rudaí mar sin. Dá mbeadh na deacrachtaí le feiceáil agus dá mbeadh sonraí breise ar fáil uait bheinn sásta é sin a dhéanamh.

Maidir leis an ábhar thuas ar Oileáin Thoraí, bhí cruinniú ar an oileán coicís ó shin, agus mar atá a fhios ag an Teachta, bhí an tUasal Pól Ó Gallchóir ag an gcruinniú agus bhí príomhphointí ar fáil le feiceáil go soiléir maidir leis na rudaí a bhí muintir Thoraí ag iarraidh amach anseo. Rud amháin a bhí siadsan ag iarraidh ná trí mhí bhreise. Dá mbeadh airgead agus acmhainní ar fáil fa dtaobh na rudaí breise a chur i bhfeidhm bheinn sásta é sin a dhéanamh. Thug an tUasal Pól Ó Gallchóir agus an Roinn gealltanas maidir na príomhspriocanna atá ag muintir Thoraí agus ag oifigigh mo Roinne.

Question No. 28 replied to with Written Answers.

Seirbhísí Aeir Fóirdheonaithe

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

29. <PreAsk>D'fhiafraigh </PreAsk>Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher den an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cad iad na pleananna chun feabhas a chur ar ché na Reannaí ag Athphort ar oileán Árainn Mhór; an dtabharfaidh sí sonraí faoin bplean chun an togra a chur i gcrích; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [19975/18]

Táim ag iarraidh a fháil amach ón Aire caidé an dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir le cé a thógáil ag Reannach, Athphort ar oileán Árainn Mhór.

Tá deontais éagsúla ceadaithe ag mo Roinn thar na blianta don togra atá luaite ag an Teachta. Idir na blianta 2001 agus 2006, ceadaíodh deontais de luach €217,666 chun réamhthuarascáil a ullmhú maidir le forbairt na cé.

Sa bhliain 2008, cheadaigh mo Roinn deontas €240,185 chun a chumasú do Chomhairle Chontae Dhún na nGall innealtóirí comhairleacha a cheapadh don tionscadal. Bhí an dearadh, ullmhú doiciméid tairisceana agus lorg tairiscintí i measc na n-oibreacha a bhí le cur i gcrích ag an gcomhairle agus, mar chuid den togra, ba ghá ceadúnas urthrá a fháil ina leith chomh maith. Tuigtear do mo Roinn nach bhfuil an ceadúnas sin faighte go fóill ag an gcomhairle contae. Tuigtear di chomh maith go bhfuil tuilleadh suirbhéanna le déanamh mar chuid den iarratas ar an gceadúnas ach go bhfuil costas níos airde ná mar a bhíothas ag súil leis ag baint leis na suirbhéanna sin.

Níl aon iarratas faighte ag mo Roinn ón gcomhairle chun cuidiú leo na costais breise sin a sheasamh ach má fhaigheann, déanfar é a mheas chomh báúil agus is féidir, ag cur san áireamh na hacmhainní atá ar fáil d'fhorbairt na n-oileán i gcoitinne agus na n-éileamh éagsúla ar na hacmhainní sin.

A Cheann Comhairle, agus mé ag éisteacht leis an bhfreagra ón Aire, ní dóigh liom go bhfuil sé sin cruinn ar chor ar bith. Ón eolas atá agamsa, chuir Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall iarratas chuig an Roinn an 22 Feabhra i mbliana, agus tá an tAire ag rá anois anseo sa Dáil nach bhfuair siad iarratas ar bith ó Chomhairle Contae Dhún na nGall. Tá a fhios agam, agus tá a fhios agam an stair fá dtaobh de seo, gur cuireadh airgead ar fáil chun go leor ullmhúcháin a dhéanamh maidir leis an gceist seo agus níl sé maith go leor nach bhfuil an t-eolas cruinn ag an Aire Gaeltachta a bhfuil freagracht aige as na hoileáin. Caithfear ceist a chur an bhfuil éinne i mBaile Átha Cliath ag caint le héinne thíos i nGaillimh fa dtaobh de seo. Ba cheart don Aire fiosrúchán a dhéanamh anois. Mar go bhfuil a fhios an an Aire, mar an rud atá de dhíth ag Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall ná airgead chun cuidiú leo iarratas a chur chuig Roinn Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara fa choinne ceadúnas cladaigh. Is é sin an rud atá de dhíth agus ní féidir bogadh ar aghaidh gan é sin.

Tá iontas orm faoi sin, chun a bheith ionraic. Dá mbeadh iarratas istigh i mo Roinn, agus mura bhfuil na sonraí agamsa, níl é sin i gceart. B'fhéidir go bhfuil an t-iarratas istigh sa Roinn Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara, níl a fhios agam. B'fhéidir go bhfuil na rudaí istigh i mo Roinn féin: níl sé ar mo bhord féin. Bhí mé i gcónaí ag labhairt leis na hoifigigh i gComhairle Contae Dhún na nGall agus tá siadsan ag déanamh sár-jab. Tá siadsan freagrach as na céanna. B'fhéidir go bhfuil bearna maidir leis an eolas agus na sonraí idir an Comhairle Contae agus an Roinn. Beidh me sásta le dul chun cinn a dhéanamh maidir leis na sonraí a bhaint amach. Beidh mé ar ais chuig an Teachta maidir leis sin.

Tá sé fíorthábhachtach go bhfaighidh mo dhuine anseo sa Dáil an fhírinne. Níl mé ag cur locht ar bith ar an Aire, ní hé an tAire a d'ullmhaigh an freagra a thug sé domsa. Is é an t-eolas atá agamsa, agus tá sé dubh agus bán, gur ar an 22 Feabhra go ndearnadh iarratas. B'fhéidir go ndéanfadh an tAire fiosrúchán fa dtaobh de sin. De réir an eolais atá agamsa, ceapaim go bhfuil thart faoi €80,000 de dhíth chun dul ar aghaidh leis seo. Thug an tAire féin cuairt ar an oileán agus go háirithe agus ar ché na Reannaí ag Athphort, agus tá sé fíorthábhachtach nach féidir leis na báid teacht i dtír ansin. Caithfidh siad dul go dtí an Leadhb Gharbh agus níl sé sin maith go leor. Tá na hoileánaigh ag brath ar an iascaireacht, níl ceadúnas le bradáin a thabhairt i dtír, ach tá gliomaigh, crúbaigh agus éisc gheala agus tá sé fíorthábhachtach go leanfar ar aghaidh leis seo. Ba mhaith liomsa go ndéanfadh an tAire fiosrúcháin fa dtaobh de seo agus go dtiocfaidh sé ar ais chugamsa. Tá a fhios agam i gceantar an oileáin, gur Aire na n-oileán chomh maith é an tAire, agus níl pingin rua le fáil do na bóithre áise. Tá na bóithre áise fíorthábhachtach agus caithfidh na treoirlínte a bheith solúbtha ionas go mbeidh siad in ann freastal orthu sin. Is iad siúd na treoirlínte maidir leis na local improvement schemes, LIS. Níl go leor solúbthachta ansin le haghaidh na n-oileán. B'shin ceist eile, agus tá súil agam go luath amach anseo go mbeidh an tAire ag cur airgead ar fáil do na bóithre contae. Ach ar a mhoille sin, ba cheart airgead a chur ar fáil do na bóithre áise.

Maidir leis an gcéad ábhar, bheinn sásta an fiosrúchán a dhéanamh, agus tiocfaidh mé ar ais gan mhoill. Maidir leis na bóithre áise, an cheist bhreise, an bhfuil an Teachta chun imeacht-----

Maidir leis na bóithre áise, táimse i gcónaí agus beidh mé i gceann leath uair ag labhairt le mo chuid oifigeach, agus táim ag amharc go dtí an t-am a bheidh cuidiú fa dtaobh na bóithre áitiúla áise fosta. Chomh maith leis sin tá éileamh bearna mhór maidir leis na rudaí LIS agus na bealaí nó na bóithre neamh-phríobháideacha nó poiblí.

Tá an chéad cheist eile in ainm an Teachta Mattie McGrath ach níl sé anseo.

Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

31. <PreAsk>D'fhiafraigh </PreAsk>Deputy Peadar Tóibín den an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta ós rud é go bhfuil an tAire ag cur an locht ar gach Roinn eile faoin moill ar chur i bhfeidhm straitéis agus titim úsáid na Gaeilge i gcoitinne, an mbunódh sí coiste tras-rannach a bheadh faoina stiúir chun na fadhbanna seo a réiteach. [20138/18]

Le fada an lá táim ag teacht isteach anseo agus ag taispeáint fianaise don Aire maidir leis an drochstaid ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag an mbomaite seo. Tá cainteoirí laethúla tar éis titim sa daonáireamh agus tá an tóin tite amach as an mbuiséad ag Údarás na Gaeltachta, ag Foras na Gaeilge agus ag gach ceann de na heagraíochtaí eile freisin. Tá an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge caite isteach sa bhosca bruscair ag an bpointe seo. Tá an Plean Gníomhaíochta 2017 le spriocdháta atá sáraithe le breis is bliain. Tá an tAire i gcónaí ag díriú ar na Ranna eile mar gheall ar an bhfadhb seo. Nach bhfuil an tAire cosúil le Mayor Quimby sa chlár "The Simpsons" ag rá can somebody else do it? Cén fáth nach bhfuil an tAire ag glacadh freagracht as an drochstaid ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge sa tír?

Glacaim leis go bhfuil an Teachta ag tagairt don Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. I dtús báire, níor mhiste liom a rá nach aontaím ar chor ar bith leis an ráiteas go bhfuil mise mar Aire Stáit ag cur an locht ar gach Roinn Stáit eile faoin moill ar cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise sin. Go deimhin, is a mhalairt ar fad atá fíor, is ar mo Roinn atá an freagracht uilig maidir leis an straitéis a chomhordú agus a chur i bhfeidhm i gcomhair le roinnt mór páirtithe lasmhara. Sa chomhthéacs sin, tá clár oibre á cur i bhfeidhm ag mo Roinn féin agus ag Ranna agus foras eagraithe eile Stáit lena n-áirítear Údarás na Gaeltachta agus Foras na Gaeilge comh maith le rian leathan eagraíochta Gaeilge chun cúram a dhéanamh i gcaitheamh an ama ar feidhmiú na straitéise. Tá sé ráite agam roimhe seo go n-aithním na cuinsí deacra ina raibh gníomhaireachtaí na Gaeilge ag feidhmiú idir mo Roinn féin, Foras na Gaeilge, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus na heagraíochtaí éagsúla atá á maoiniú acu. Táim sásta go bhfuil dul chun cinn suntasach déanta agus á dhéanamh maidir le rian leathan gníomhaíochtaí faoin straitéis a chur i bhfeidhm de réir a chéile ar bhealach córasach, laistigh de na hachmhainní atá ar fáil. Maidir leis an gcoiste atá luaite ag an Teachta, is fiú a mheabhrú go bhfuil struchtúr ar leith maidir leis an straitéis bunaithe cheana féin agus nach bhfuil i gceist agam cur leis na structúir sin. San áireamh sna structúir sin, tá coiste comhairleach a bunaíodh in 2014 chun comhairle agus aiseolas a chur ar fáil maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise. Is mé atá mar chathaoirleach ar an gcoiste sin agus tá ionadaíocht ag na heagraíochtaí éagsúla Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta air. Tá sé i gceist agam cruinniú den choiste sin a ghairm sna seachtaine amach romhainn. Níor mhiste liom a mheabhrú don Teachta go bhfuil bailchríoch á cur ag mo Roinn faoi láthair ar phlean gníomhaíochta don tréimhse 2018 go dtí 2022 in a mbeidh spriocanna sonracha leagtha amach a bheidh aontaithe le páirtíthe leasmhara a bhfuil baint acu leis an scéal agus an freagracht orthu go deimhin ina leith os rud é gur straitéis tras-Ranna í.

An fhadhb atá ann i ndáiríre ná go bhfuil an cur chuige atá ag an Rialtas mar gheall ar an nGaeilge maslach. Tá an Gaeilge in áit na leathphingine sa tír seo. Tá sin feicthe san méid titim atá tar éis teacht ar an mbuiséad. Níl aon earnáil ar chor ar bith sa Rialtas ag fáil an damáiste atá déanta don Ghaeilge. Má fheiceann duine ar aon rud a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge, níl freagracht ag an Aire Stáit. Chuir mé ceist air maidir le cé mhéad oifigigh Gaeilge atá sna húdaráis áitiúil. Ní raibh a fhios aige faoi sin ar chor ar bith: is le Roinn eile é sin. I ngach ceann de na hionaid ealaíon áitiúla, níl aon oifigeach Gaeilge ann ar chor ar bith. Níl aon oifigeach Gaeilge sa Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, BAI, atá i gceannas ar chraoltóireacht sa tír seo. Níl ach dhá uair de chláracha raidió chraolaithe ar raidió RTÉ féin sa tír seo. Uair amháin de nuacht atá aistrithe ó Béarla agus uair amháin athchraoladh atá ann. Sin an stáisiún is mó atá sa tír seo faoi bhráid agus tá 50 stáisiúin eile sa tír agus níl siad níos fearr ar chor ar bith ach ní baineann sé sin leis an Aire Stáit: baineann sé le hAire nó le hAire Stáit eile.

Cúpla focal sciobtha. Tá comhairle iomlán de dhíth maidir leis an teanga agus tá na daoine i gcónaí ag labhairt fadúda an todhchaí agus is é sin an bealach ceart. Tá deacrachtaí ach chím na féidearthachtaí agus na deiseanna maidir leis an teanga. Mar shampla, cúpla seachtain ó shin bhí mé in Dublin Institute of Technology, DIT, ar an gcampas agus tá siadsan ag bogadh ar aghaidh le cúrsaí ar son an teanga. Tá athbheochan ag teacht sa tír fosta. Tá na daoine ag obair ar an gceangal idir an cultúr, an oidhreacht agus an teanga agus ní hamháin an teanga, ach trí na n-aontaithe a bhí bainte amach maidir leis an straitéis cúig bliana agus an plean gníomhaíochtaí cúig bliana. Tá aontaithe timpeall an Rialtais anois idir achan Roinn. Tá dualgas orainn sa Teach seo agus timpeall na tíre an teanga a bhogadh chun tosaigh agus táim dóchasach don todhchaí.

Táimid i gcónaí ag féachaint ar an horizon nuair a táimid ag caint leis an Aire Stáit anseo ach tá an aimsir láithreach uafásach tábhachtach ag an mbomaite. Anois, mar gheall ar an gComhairle Ealaíon, tugann siad 0.8% dá gcuid buiséad do ealaíon na Gaeltachta. Sin an méid is lú. Tá níos mó airgead faighte ag opera sa tír seo ná atá le fáil ó earnáil iomlán ealaíon na Gaeltachta agus an Gaeilge. Táimid ag caint leis an Aire Stáit le fada an lá mar gheall ar chúrsaí oideachais. Tá 25% de tuismitheoirí sa tír seo ag éileamh go mbeadh a gcuid páistí ag dul go dtí Gaelscoil. Níl ach 5% ag fáil é sin sa tír seo ach ag an am céanna níl an tAire Oideachais agus Scileanna in ann a fhógairt go mbeidh siad ag baint amach an sprioc sin ar chor ar bith. Tá siad fós ag fogrú go mbeidh níos lú ná 5% de na scoileanna nua ina Ghaelscoileanna. Tá sé thar ama anois go mbeadh freagracht ag an Aire Stáit mar gheall ar an nGaeilge agus as gach rud atá sa straitéis 20 bliain. Bailigh le chéile na Ranna eile agus bí ag obair ar an bplean céanna.

Aontaím le bheith ag dul ag obair ar an mbealach céanna. Sin an fáth a bhí cuid mór obair déanta maidir leis an comhobair idir na Ranna eagraithe agus na rannóg eagraithe fosta. Le bheith ionraic, tá rudaí difriúla ag dul ar aghaidh. Tá na daoine uilig ag labhairt fadúda an teanga, cén bealach is fearr atá ann, cén saghas caighdeán a bheith de dhíth ó na daoine a bheidh ag cruthú na fostaíochta sna réimse fostaithe agus an tseirbhís atá ar fáil sna Gaeltachtaí agus taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht, rud atá tábhachtach. Bhí an Teachta ag labhairt faoi na rudaí áille ins na Gaeltachtaí. Dé Sathairn seo chugainn beidh mé ag seoladh Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach agus na daoine a bhí ag obair-----

Rud amháin-----

Tá mé ag labhairt fadúda an athbheochan ag teacht agus bhí an Teachta ag labhairt fadúda an éileamh agus cúrsaí mar sin agus seirbhís a bheith ar fáil trí Ghaeilge sna Ranna difriúil. Sin an fáth a bhímid ag obair ar an bplean gníomhaíoch cúig bliana.

Question No. 32 replied to with Written Answers.

Hare Coursing Regulation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

33. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the exceptional circumstances under which a coursing club may apply to hold a second day’s trial; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19895/18]

Section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976 says that an individual coursing club may hold no more than one trial session, but that in exceptional circumstances it may apply to hold a second day's trial. What are those exceptional circumstances? I am aware that in February Clonmel coursing club was given permission to hold a second day's trial. What were the exceptional circumstances pertaining to that? I have been asking a series of questions about strengthening the National Parks and Wildlife Service over the last year or so, particularly on the issue of monitoring coursing trials.

In October 2017 my Department issued a revised licence in relation to coursing under section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended, to the Irish Coursing Club, ICC, on behalf of its affiliated clubs, which included new and revised conditions relating to the reporting of coursing trials. One such condition stipulates that an individual coursing club may hold no more than one trial session but that in exceptional circumstances the ICC may apply to hold a second day’s trial.

My Department received a request from the ICC to hold a second day’s trial in relation to the three day National Coursing Meeting which was held in Clonmel on 10, 11 and 12 February last. In granting the request for a second day’s trial my Department took into account the fact that the national coursing meeting in Clonmel is the largest coursing meeting held during the season with some 160 hares run during the three day meeting. I accepted the view that it would not have been possible to complete trails for this number of hares in one day at the time of year in February due to limited daylight. In addition, taking account of safety and welfare reasons, it was considered that a second day’s trial was needed in order to promote the familiarisation of hares with the field and with the most direct route to the escape.

It is important to stress that until my Department issued a revised licence last year, it would have been possible for every single club in the country to hold trials over as many days as they wanted. Clonmel was the only application that my Department received for a second day's trail since the licence to the ICC was amended in October last year. The current 2017-18 coursing season ended on 28 February last.

I welcome the Minister's remarks about the new and revised conditions, but I do not know if in actual fact the situation she describes is truly exceptional. What safeguards are in place to ensure that hares are being rested sufficiently and what reports does the Minister have of hares allegedly being shared between courses due to shortages? I know for example that at least 36 hares died at coursing meetings in 2015-16. Some 26 died during the 2016-17 season and by the end of the 2017 a further 13 had also died.

The Minister told me that the cost of recruiting 25 additional conservation rangers for the National Parks and Wildlife Service would be less than €640,000. I welcome the fact that 11 rangers were appointed during 2017. Surely, the fact that just six hare coursing meetings were monitored during the 2014-15 season is unacceptable. I know that number rose to 17 meetings in the following year, and in the 2017-18 season 24 meetings had been monitored. Why can we not arrive at a situation where all meetings are monitored and where hares are treated humanely and protected?

I agree with Deputy Broughan that the hares must be treated humanely and I believe that they need to be monitored, as do all of these trials. In order to familiarise hares with the layout of the coursing field and the location of the escape, in advance of coursing meetings hares in the hare park, the enclosure where they are kept prior to the start of the coursing meeting, will have access to the coursing field for some time. In addition, it is normal practice for some coursing clubs to train hares in advance of coursing meetings by holding trials, which are essentially preparation runs before the hares are pursued by two dogs along the actual coursing field.

It is horrendous.

It is my understanding that some 27 coursing events out of some 60 meetings were monitored by officials of my Department during the 2017-18 season, which ended on 28 February this year, including trials. During the 2016-17 season, a total of 17 coursing events were monitored by my Department.

The regional staff of my Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service attend coursing meetings as resources allow to monitor compliance with the conditions of the licences. Such staff perform a wide variety of functions relating to management of national parks, the conservation of habitats, the protection of protected species and the enforcement of national and EU law. Delivering on this work is particularly challenging at a time of constrained financial and staffing resources, but within this context, my Department prioritises its human resources to areas of most critical demand.

Gaeltacht Policy

Mattie McGrath

Question:

30. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures her Department is taking to support pop-up Gaeltachts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19805/18]

I will indeed be brief. Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. Ba mhaith liom a rá leis an Teachta Broughan, let the hare sit.

I want to ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures her Department is taking to support Pop-up Gaeltachts, and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Gaeilge nó Béarla?

Either. Mixed, más é do thoil é.

Shaken, not stirred.

Sin an bealach is fearr. Gabhaim buíochas as an gceist. Maidir leis na Pop-up Gaeltachts, ba mhaith liom aitheantas a ghabháil chuig na daoine uilig a mbíonn páirteach iontu. Tá siad ag tabhairt spreagadh do dhaoine eile sna ceantair. Faigheann siad tacaíocht mhór ó Chonradh an Gaeilge agus ó Fhoras na Gaeilge.

I want to acknowledge the people involved in the Pop-up Gaeltachts. This is a natural revival, and it is also a testament to the work that the likes of Conradh na Gaeilge and Foras na Gaeilge are putting in. A lot of those people are supporting it on an ad hoc basis.

Tá imeachtaí Bhliain na Gaeilge 2018 leagtha amach chun deiseanna freastail agus deiseanna úsáide na teangan a thabhairt do gach duine - daoine atá líofa, daoine le cúpla focal, pobal na Gaeltachta, an pobal atá lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht, daoine nach bhfuil focal Gaeilge acu agus iad a bhí ball don teanga, agus an diaspora. Tá na heagraíochta Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta ag teacht aníos i gcónaí le smaointe nua chun an Ghaeilge a chaomhnú agus a chur chun cinn ar fud na tíre. Tá áthas orm a chur in iúl go mbíonn an Rialtas báúil i gcónaí maidir le himeachtaí agus tionscadail a reachtáil chun cur le méadú in úsáid na Gaeilge i measc an phobail.

I want to clarify as well that the Pop-up Gaeltacht is a voluntary ad hoc initiative, based on a ground-up approach at community level. I understand that these social events were started as a response to articles about the Irish language in the media and that they have achieved great success since the concept was established in November 2016. As these occasions are completely informal, take place in normal social arenas and are promoted through social media, no financial support appears to be required from the State. I take this opportunity to congratulate all involved. I sometimes leave out the officials from my Department, whom I congratulate for the work they put into promoting the Irish language.

I addition to this, 2018 has been recognised as Bliain na Gaeilge, a special year for the Irish language. I encourage as many people as possible to get involved with the Pop-up Gaeltacht or with any other forum as an opportunity to re-engage with, learn or use our national language.

Maidir leis an teachtaireacht is mó, I think the biggest message in relation to Bliain na Gaeilge is go bhfuil an fheasacht a ardú, the creation of that extra awareness. It is happening all over the country agus is beag áit sa tír ach bhfuil gníomh nó ócáid nó imeacht ar siúl maidir le Bliain na Gaeilge. So there is a diverse range of groups and activities agus imeachtaí ag dul ar aghaidh timpeall na tíre. It is important to create awareness. I know tá croí an Teachta san áit cheart - when myself and Deputy McGrath have a chance in the corridor bíonn muid ag úsáid na teangan. At every little opportunity we are doing that. Ní bheidh sé ag stopadh ag deireadh na bliana. Bliain na Gaeilge does not stop at the end of 2018. It is all part of the plan. It is all interlinked. Tá an athbheochan ag teacht agus tá mé dóchasach go mbeidh an Pop-up Gaeltacht páirteach san athbheochan.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas Website.