Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Budget 2021

Imelda Munster

Question:

1. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the amount of additional funding allocated by her Department in budget 2021 above the allocation outlined in the Revised Estimates for 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37041/20]

What is the amount of additional funding allocated to the Department in budget 2021 above the allocation outlined in the Revised Estimates for 2020? Will the Minister make a statement on the matter?

The 2021 total gross funding allocated to my Department, as per the budget Estimates, amounts to €1.082 billion. This represents an increase of €79 million, or 8%, on the 2020 allocation as published in the further Revised Estimates for my Department. Those Revised Estimates included additional funding of €183 million, secured during 2020, to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 and to ensure the survival and recovery of businesses and operations in the sectors for which I have ministerial responsibility. The revised 2020 figures represented an increase of some 25% on the total comparable figure for the relevant programme areas in 2019. In broad terms, the 2021 funding for these sectors will represent an increase of 35% on what was available to them in 2019 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our cultural institutions, theatres, tourist destinations, pubs, restaurants, sporting occasions and Gaeltacht communities have been severely impacted since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The increased funding secured as part of budget 2021 is a testament to my commitment and that of the Government to ensure a range of robust funding streams and targeted measures are available to support resilience and recovery across these sectors, including a new €55 million support fund for strategic tourism businesses, €50 million in support for the live entertainment industry, record funding of €130 million for the Arts Council, €8 million to provide for the transfer of the National Symphony Orchestra to the National Concert Hall, more than €78 million allocated to the Gaeltacht and Irish language sector, €31.8 million for Údarás na Gaeltachta, €104.5 million for Sport Ireland, increased funding of €40.7 million for TG4, and additional funding for Irish language broadcasting to meet New Decade, New Approach commitments. As Minister, I am satisfied that the increase in funding to €1.082 billion secured as part of budget 2021 will support resilience and recovery across the diverse sectors for which I have responsibility and allow them to thrive once more on the global stage in the fields of tourism, culture, sport, language and public service media.

When I raised this matter at a committee meeting, the response was not clear. That was not down to the Minister. Rather, there was no proper scrutiny of the Revised Estimates. That was just the nature of the way the meeting was handled. I asked about the budget. The Minister announced €200 million of additional funding, but that did not reflect the Estimates budget book. In the budget document, the gross Revised Estimates for 2020 amounted to just shy of €1.003 billion. The gross Estimate for 2021 was €1.082 billion, representing an increase of €79 million. It is not that I am taking issue with the funding for Covid and so on in addition to core funding. Rather, my issue is that the actual increase for 2021 is €79 million.

The 2021 total gross funding allocation to my Department, as per the Estimates, is €1.082 billion. This represents an increase of €79 million, or 8%, on the 2020 allocation, as per the Revised Estimates voted for the Department on 8 October 2020. The 2020 figures published as part of those further Revised Estimates included additional funding of €183 million, which was secured during 2020 to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 and to ensure the survival and recovery of businesses and operations in sectors for which I have responsibility. In broad terms, the 2021 funding for those sectors represents an increase of 35% on the 2019 levels.

Some of the funding increases, such as the €55 million support fund for strategic tourism businesses and the €50 million for the live entertainment industry, are exclusively directed at interventions to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Other measures, such as the €8 million for the transfer of the National Symphony Orchestra and funding to support the Irish language, are not Covid related but relate to the development of sectors generally and, in the case of Údarás na Gaeltachta, recognise the Brexit-related challenges faced by its client companies.

The Minister is talking about funding that was allocated in 2020, including the July stimulus package. When that is excluded, there is additional funding of just €79 million for 2021. It is not that I am taking issue with that funding, given that it is needed. Plenty of businesses and sectors have fallen through the cracks, and that is a situation that must be addressed. When the warranted and much-needed July stimulus package is excluded though, the Minister has secured just €79 million for her Department for 2021.

The budget document reflects the figures. If they have been recycled from somewhere else or taken from another Department I ask her to tell us. The budget document is in black and white and there is €79 million in additional funding for 2021.

The budget 2021 supports that we announced last month have been welcomed by all of the sectors that I represent. The Deputy has raised the question of what is Covid spending and what is in the budget on a number of occasions. A suite of funding measures, such as increased funding for the Arts Council, Screen Ireland and Sport Ireland, represent an acknowledgement of the important role these organisations play generally in supporting the sector. I know the Deputy has focused on what is Covid or non-Covid funding, but my focus is on giving support to the sectors that are struggling. There is no precise Covid-19 allocation. Rather, there is an increase in budget 2021 to reflect a mixture of supports for range of sectors which are impacted by Covid and Brexit or for which increased funding was deemed appropriate more generally.

Arts Policy

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

2. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her plans to seek a basic income pilot scheme for those working in the arts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37747/20]

I am seeking information on the plan for the basic income pilot scheme, which is part of a submission the Minister received from the arts and culture recovery task force in the Life Worth Living report that was put before the Cabinet recently.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the report of the arts and culture recovery task force, which was a commitment in the programme for Government, was published this week. The report included a recommendation that a universal basic income be piloted for a three-year period in the arts sector. I very much welcome this report and thank the task force members for their time, expertise and commitment.

The task force has made ten recommendations to aid the survival of the sector during Covid-19 and beyond under three themes: ensuring recovery; building resilience; and facing forward. The ten recommendations seek to protect livelihoods, which is what the universal basic income pilot involves; mitigate income loss; ensure fair play for the makers of creative content; secure the viability of the live events industry; sustain local authority capacity to support arts and culture; ensure well-being; build sectoral capacity; make space for arts and live entertainment; provide more outdoor public spaces for cultural events; and address the environmental impact of arts, culture and event activities. The task force report is extremely beneficial to the Government as we examine ways to help the arts and culture sector to emerge from this unprecedented position. I will shortly establish an oversight committee for the appraisal of the task force's recommendations.

On a broader level, the Government has already responded to the challenges facing the sector through a number of recent measures. Some €25 million was provided in June, including €20 million for the Arts Council, as well as additional supports for regional museums. A further €29 million was announced in the July stimulus, including funding for the Arts Council, Screen Ireland, our national cultural institutions, a music stimulus and supports for live performance. Significant additional funding was announced in budget 2021, with €130 million allocated to the Arts Council for 2021 and €50 million for supports for life performance. Tens of millions of euro in supports have been provided to those impacted in the arts, culture, performance and events sector through the pandemic unemployment scheme and various wage subsidy schemes. Some people in those sectors have also availed of the commercial rates waivers and may avail of the Covid restrictions support scheme.

I welcome the report and some of its findings. There is an urgency to this. Many artists, musicians and those working in the creative world have adapted to their circumstances, but some have not been able to. Some are in dire straits. They are waiting for the oversight group to come up with how a basic income will be rolled out, such as its parameters and so on, while there is an urgency now. How will the Minister roll out the basic income pilot scheme? In the meantime, will she ensure that those artists and others working in creative industries can fully avail of the equivalent of what some of them enjoyed at the early stage of the Covid crisis, that is, the full pandemic unemployment payment while they are waiting for a basic income scheme? While I do not fully agree with those types of schemes, the new scheme has yet to be rolled out.

I can speak to the recommendations as they came from this task force, which comprised a broad range of people involved in the screen sector, the artistic community, our cultural institutions and the live event industry. They identified ten key recommendations.

The Deputy said the universal basic income was a well-established proposal, long before the pandemic, and would involve a tax-free payment to residents of the State without reference to their means or availability for employment. This would be a game changer for the community which is, as the Deputy rightly said, in dire straits. We have to be prudent and do things properly. Those who have artistic or creative work as their chief occupation often experience income insecurity and cash flow problems. As the Deputy will know, financial stress can impede creativity. The creation of art, whether that is music, live events or literature, requires practitioners to have the freedom to create.

I have asked my Cabinet colleagues to assess all ten recommendations. As the Deputy is aware, I led the Green Party negotiations and negotiated the commitment to the universal basic income in the programme for Government. This report will feed into the national economic plan, which is also a commitment in the programme for Government. I have started those conversations around universal basic income with my Cabinet colleagues. I welcome this report because it accelerates the commitment to a universal basic income. As the Deputy knows, a three-year pilot scheme has been sought.

There is no doubt about the commitment of the Minister and those who have promoted it. Some have not promoted it. There should be a universal living wage. We can deal with that another time.

As the Minister said, this is a proposal from 2019 and is in the programme for Government. It will not be rolled out within the next number of weeks or months because any such payments involve a series of mechanics. I wish it could be done in the morning. What can be done as an interim measure? Those who wrote the report have already identified that 55,000 people will be affected. In anticipation of the introduction of a basic income scheme, can the Minister roll out a temporary measure to cover those people until the scheme is in place?

I thank the Deputy. In the interim, I hope he would know that I announced the successful applicants from the €5 million pilot programme in the July stimulus package. I will roll out €50 million in the new year to help the sector. The amount was increased to €50 million because the €5 million programme received €16.5 million worth of applications. This money will support artists and those working in the live event industry. There is also unprecedented funding of €130 million for the Arts Council.

We have assessed the pilot programme. I met representatives of the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland and the Event Production Industry Covid Working Group in recent weeks to assess the €5 million pilot programme and examine what more we can do to support them and whether improvements can be made. I have secured funding in budget 2021 to do that.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Mattie McGrath

Question:

3. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason the Irish step dance community has been denied the right to run indoor solo classes following a pod system and adhering to strict social distancing guidelines at levels 3 and 4 in view of the fact that similar and comparable artistic and athletic activities, such as stage school, gymnastics and drama for children, have been allowed to continue and places the national dance form and cultural heritage under threat (details supplied). [36360/20]

Why has the Irish step dancing community been denied the right to run indoor solo classes, following a pod system and adhering to strict guidelines, as other comparable activities and sports have done? I have received 1,208 letters from dance teachers and students. Some of them are very sad. They need to be able to do this activity and we have to protect their right to dance.

I thank the Deputy for his question. He has raised the issue of step dancing a number of times.

The guidance set out in the Government's Plan for Living with Covid-19 specifies that no exercise or dance classes are allowed at levels 3, 4 or 5. This precludes any exercise class, including gymnastics, and any type of dance class, including traditional, step, jazz or ballet. Similarly, the guidance precludes any indoor gathering taking place at levels 3, 4 and 5 and, to date, there are no exemptions. To provide clarity to the Deputy, there are no distinctions of the type he referenced in his question across levels 3, 4 and 5. I acknowledge his feedback. I have received a lot of correspondence about this.

Given the current epidemiological situation with a high incidence of the disease, widespread community transmission and a considerable number of hospitalisations and deaths, it has been necessary to put in place very significant restrictions to assess the current trajectory of Covid-19 and break transmission chains.

This means asking people to stay at home and eliminating as much activity and contacts as possible to ensure that opportunities for the virus are minimised while allowing essential activities to continue. Unfortunately, this means minimising discretionary activities, including cultural activities. At present, Ireland is at level 5 in our plan for living with Covid-19. The public health risk at level 5 means we are all asked to stay at home, with very limited exceptions.

The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 give effect to level 5 restrictions currently under the plan. The regulations list essential retail and services that may operate under level 5. This list does not include private or any type of dance classes. Under the regulations, essential education encompasses primary and post-primary schools and higher and further education where remote learning is not possible. Where a service provider considers that it falls into the essential education category, for example, as part of a national curriculum or a specific State-sponsored course of study, it should refer to the Department of Education's guidance on the operation of education services.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

Similarly, the Health Act 1947 (Section 3 IA - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 7) Regulations, which applied when the country was under level 3 of the plan for living with Covid-19, did not allow any exercise or dance classes, irrespective of the form, such as Irish, jazz or ballet.

I fully understand the benefits that activities such as dance bring to people's overall health and well-being. The measures in place to suppress the disease's transmission are intended to minimise the risks to public health while striking the right balance in prioritising and protecting some activities over others. Such activities include health and social care services, education and other essential needs, work and economic activity, and other key societal interests as much as possible.

I do not know whether the Minister of State is aware that in December 2015, Ireland ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and it was important that we did. Sports are allowed to go ahead in groups and people can practise. Teachers and dancers recognise that the restrictions are necessary to curb the spread of Covid but this is totally unfair. I have received 1,208 letters but one of them, from a six-year-old girl, is very striking. She wrote that she misses and loves dance, and asked that she be let back to it so that she can dance, be happy and have fun. It is vital that we protect our culture and heritage, and dance is a very important part of that. What is the point of signing up to United Nations conventions if we are not going to allow the people the right? Dancing schools are very safe environments. The dancers are in pods and there are some very expensive and well-designed dance studios. They are very well designed, safe and well ventilated. The Minister of State may not be a dancer himself but he is well able to sidestep this issue, so he would be a good learner.

I have had a great deal of correspondence and engagement with many constituents that is representative, I am sure, of many of the letters the Deputy received. To be clear, there is no distinction at levels 3, 4 and 5 between indoor activity. That is the context in which the Deputy raised the matter and he compared it to sport, but sport is allowed at level 3 in certain instances, outdoors in pods. There is not, however, any distinction for any type of indoor activity relating to some of the comparative examples the Deputy gave.

To be constructive, I am giving the Deputy the position as it is. I encourage the groups and associations that have been in touch with him and are regularly in touch with me and the Minister to engage with the Arts Council, the Department and the document on living with Covid. We will always engage with sectors on how the restrictions impact people. We do not want to undermine what we have signed up to and subscribed to under the United Nations, as the Deputy outlined, but it is about having a basket of measures and a balancing act to protect public health while ensuring that important indoor activity, whether sport, dance or culture, will be promoted and enhanced. I appreciate the Deputy's feedback and encourage the people who have sent him letters to continue to engage with the Department and the Arts Council.

The Minister of State is dancing all over the UNESCO convention and he is wrong. A gymnastics school can operate under levels 3 and 4 but we cannot, so there is a discrepancy. I urge the Minister of State to consider the physical, emotional, mental and pedological benefits that dance can bring to young people, and to allow the CLRG and other dance organisations to continue sharing their knowledge and expertise by advocating and permitting the continuation of Irish dance classes indoors and in socially distanced pods. These are not reckless people but they want to go on with the excellent tuition they have. Many of them danced as daoine óga and went on to be world champions. Look at Riverdance, Brú Ború or the cultural activities of Comhaltas. This is so important for us. The Minister of State mentioned schools, where 30 kids are in a classroom with a teacher. Many people do not excel at school but they might do so at dancing, art or music. They too have to be catered for; we are not all going to be in academia. This is very important for our culture, heritage and dúchas. Going forward, we need this and will be proud of this. If we are to deny these people a full year of tuition, however, we will lose them.

I remind the Minister of State of the letter from the six-year-old girl. Sin an fáth go bhfuil mé ag obair ar sin inniu. I hope he will be in some way sympathetic and empathetic. I ask him not to dance all over the UNESCO convention. What is the point of signing up to it, with great fanfare, if we are not going to honour it?

I assure the Deputy that the Government is not dancing on anything in respect of UNESCO.

There are a lot of dancers.

We fully support our cultural activities, including dance, but the most effective way to ensure many of our activities in society can operate is to suppress the virus-----

-----and get back to a scenario where there can be a whole range of activities in society. When we are at level 5 and the virus is out of control, there is a limit and our current message is for people to stay at home-----

What about levels 3 and 4?

I accept and take the point. We want to be constructive about this. The longer that restrictions go on, particularly in levels 3 and 4 - I accept the Deputy's point - it limits important cultural activities and indoor sporting activities. There is engagement between the Department and the groups and associations the Deputy mentioned to try to be helpful in that regard. Nevertheless, the current position is as I have set out. We are engaging to try to ensure we will get the balance right and we are trying to be constructive in that regard. I hope the Deputy recognises that.

Maoiniú d'Eagrais Ghaeilge

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

4. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán míniú a thabhairt ar a laghad maoinithe breise a fógraíodh d’Fhoras na Gaeilge i mbuiséad 2021 chun deontais chuí a dháileadh ar na buneagrais Ghaeilge agus Ghaeltachta chun a dtograí a chomhlíonadh. [37748/20]

Táim ag fiafraí sa cheist seo ar an Aire míniú a thabhairt faoin laghad maoinithe breise a fógraíodh d’Fhoras na Gaeilge i mbuiséad 2021 chun deontais chuí a dháileadh ar na ceann-eagrais.

Is í an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas, CATT, a cheadaíonn na buiséid do na forais tras-Teorann uile, An Foras Teanga san áireamh. Tá méadú táscach de €1.779 milliún curtha ar fáil don chomhoibriú Thuaidh Theas i mbuiséad 2021. Cinnteoidh an leithdháileadh maoinithe táscach seo, atá faoi réir breis plé leis an Roinn Pobal i dTuaisceart Éireann, go gcuirfear ar chumas Fhoras na Gaeilge a chláir teanga agus cultúir i leith réimsí nua agus maoiniú a mhéadú, más cuí, do ghrúpaí teanga reatha.

I mbliana, íocfaidh mo Roinn €11.087 milliún d'Fhoras na Gaeilge. Sin 75% den oll-bhuiséad atá ceadaithe ag CATT. Anuas air sin, cuirfidh mo Roinn maoiniú breise ar fáil d'Fhoras na Gaeilge i ndáil nithe imfhálaithe mar a bhaineann le clár na leabhar Gaeilge, sin €1.061 milliún, agus scéim Cholmcille, sin €118,000. Is fiú a nótáil freisin go ligtear d’Fhoras na Gaeilge an t-ioncam breise a ghintear ó dhíol leabhar agus rudaí eile a choinneáil le caitheamh ar a chuid gníomhaíochtaí.

Mar gheall ar chúinsí polaitiúla i dTuaisceart Éireann, áfach, níorbh fhéidir cruinnithe CATT a eagrú ó lár 2016. Tionólfar cruinniú CATT arís go gairid, tráth go ndéanfar na buiséid ó 2017 go 2020 a cheadú agus táimid ag súil go ndéanfar buiséad an Fhorais Teanga do 2021 a dheimhniú freisin.

Tá ciste iomlán de €5 milliún fógartha don phróiseas pleanála teanga i mbuiséad 2021. Is ardú suntasach é seo ar an €3.7 milliúin atá sa bhuiséad pleanála teanga don bhliain reatha. Cuirfear maoiniú leordhóthanach ar fáil d'Fhoras na Gaeilge ón mbuiséad sin chun cúram a dhéanamh d'ullmhú agus feidhmiú pleananna teanga sa bhliain amach romhainn don chuid sin den phróiseas a bhaineann leis. Ceadaíodh pleananna teanga na trí líonra Gaeilge agus an baile seirbhíse Gaeltachta amháin atá faoi chúram an Fhorais go dáta i mbliana. Cuirfear maoiniú suas le €80,000 an ceann ar fáil d'fheidhmiú na bpleananna sin in aghaidh na bliana agus, faoi réir an tsocraithe seo go ginearálta, cuirfear allúntas bliantúil suas le €100,000 ar fáil do chathair na Gaillimhe agus cathair Chorcaigh in am trátha.

Glacaim le gach rud atá ráite ag an Aire Stáit. In ainneoin gur tharlaigh ardú agus go bhfuil airgead breise curtha ar leataobh, níl an t-airgead sin mór go leor chun cinntiú go bhfuil Foras na Gaeilge fiú in ann na tograí atá aige a chomhlíonadh agus ní féidir leis cuidiú leis na ceann-eagrais tabhairt faoi na tograí atá leagtha os a gcomhair mar is gá. Tá i bhfad Éireann níos mó airgid i gceist agus ag teastáil.

Ceann de na réimsí a dhíreoinn air ná an t-airgead a chuireann Foras na Gaeilge ar fáil do na scéimeanna pobal Gaeilge. Tá 20 acu ann faoi láthair agus tá sé ag tnúth le 16 eile.

Níl an t-airgead ann. Ní féidir leis an scéim fiú na fostaithe a íoc ag an leibhéal cuí faoi láthair, gan trácht ar an méid airgid gur chóir go mbeadh ann chun cuidiú leis an réimse oibre atá ar bun ag na grúpaí faoin scéim pobal Gaeilge a chur i gcrích. Tá gá díriú ar an gcéim sin. Tá gach rud in iomaíocht lena chéile i bhForas na Gaeilge. Níl an t-airgead ann.

Cé go bhfuil plé fós ag dul ar aghaidh leis an Roinn Pobal ó Thuaidh maidir le síntiús na Roinne sin do bhuiséad an Fhorais Teanga don bhliain seo chugainn, is léir ón maoiniú suntasach breise de €1.779 milliún atá ceadaithe ag an Rialtas ó Dheas cheana féin don chomhoibriú Thuaidh-Theas go mbeidh deis ag Foras na Gaeilge an maoiniú atá á chur ar fáil d'eagrais agus pobail Ghaeilge a mhéadú agus a leathnú amach do ghrúpaí nua in 2021. Tá aitheanta ag Foras na Gaeilge go bhfuil athnuachan shuntasach le déanamh ar an scéim pobal Gaeilge mar atá sí faoi láthair. De réir na straitéise 20 bliain don Ghaeilge agus tuiscint Fhoras na Gaeilge ar dhea-chleachtas chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, aithnítear gur chóir go mbeadh béim anois ar phleanáil fhadtéarmach theanga agus ar phleanáil straitéiseach. Is féidir liom a dheimhniú go bhfuil oifigigh mo Roinne agus mé féin ar an eolas faoi mhianta na ngrúpaí a fhaigheann tacaíocht faoin scéim reatha agus gur chas mo chuid oifigeach leis an Roinn Pobal ó Thuaidh, le Foras na Gaeilge, le Conradh na Gaeilge, le Glór na nGael agus le páirtithe eile chun na mianta sin a phlé.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire Stáit. Mar a bhí mé ag rá ag deireadh mo chéad cheist, tá an scéim pobal Gaeilge in iomaíocht le, mar shampla, obair fhoclóireachta. Tá beagáinín níos mó airgid ag dul i dtreo foclóirí nua - tá ceann nua ann ach tá ceann eile le teacht - ná i dtreo na scéime sin. Ní cóir go mbeadh sé sin mar atá. Ba chóir go mbeadh an t-airgead ar fáil. Níl lánfhoireann ag Foras na Gaeilge fiú. Faoi láthair, tá 56 ag obair d'Fhoras na Gaeilge ach tá cead aige 71 a bheith aige. Ní féidir leis an líon sin a ardú mar níl an t-airgead aige. Má chaitheann sé airgead ar fhoireann bhreise, tiocfaidh an t-airgead sin as airgead gur chóir é a bheith caite ar na ceanneagrais. Beidh an iomaíocht sin ann gan airgead breise. Ba chóir go mbeadh i bhfad Éireann níos mó ann ná mar atá. Tuigim an cóimheas idir an t-airgead ó Thuaidh agus ó Dheas. Tuigim na fadhbanna a bhí ann ach tá bealaí timpeall orthu sin. Is féidir tograí aonuaire a mhaoiniú mar a tharla le scéim na leabhar Gaeilge a luaigh an tAire Stáit féin. Sa Tuaisceart, cuireann an Tionól airgead i dtreo scéimeanna áirithe chomh maith.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Teachta as an gceist seo a ardú. Tá a fhios agam gur ardaigh Conradh na Gaeilge an cheist ag cruinniú dá choiste le déanaí. Chuireamar feabhas ar an mbuiséad don bhliain seo chugainn. Tá maoiniú breise curtha ar fáil sa bhuiséad. Tá sé sin an-tábhachtach. Mar Rialtas, táimid ag iarraidh tacaíocht a thabhairt don scéim pobal Gaeilge, do na líonraí Gaeilge agus do na bailte seirbhíse Gaeltachta. Tá súil agam go mbeadh réiteach ann d'Fhoras na Gaeilge le gairid. Bhí réamhchruinnithe comhairliúcháin ag Foras na Gaeilge i gcomhair le Conradh na Gaeilge agus Glór na nGael leis na páirtithe leasmhara siar in 2019. Eagraíodh réamhchruinniú eile i mí Feabhra na bliana seo ar d'fhreastail suas le 80 duine air. Pléadh moltaí sa cháipéis chomhairliúcháin a bhí eisithe ag an bhforas leis na páirtithe eile ag an gcruinniú sin. Tá sé an-tábhachtach a rá, mar a dúirt mé, go bhfuil maoiniú suntasach breise de €1.779 milliún a bhí ceadaithe ag an Rialtas sa bhuiséad i gcomhair na hoibre sin agus i gcomhair comhoibrithe Thuaidh-Theas.