Socioeconomic Profile of the Seven Gaeltacht Areas in Ireland: Discussion

Gabhaim buíochas leis na finnéithe as teacht os ár gcomhair. Inniu beimid ag plé tuarascála ar phróifíl shocheacnamaíoch na seacht gceantar Gaeltacht in Éirinn a foilsíodh ag deireadh na bliana seo caite. Saothar fíorthábhachtach atá sa tuarascáil seo. Ba chóir dúinn ar fad é a léamh agus gníomhú dá réir. Tugann an tuarascáil léargas domhain agus cuimsitheach dúinn ar thréithe socheacnamaíocha daonra agus saoil na Gaeltachta faoi láthair. Chomh maith leis sin, tugann sé tuiscint dúinn ar an dúshlán atá os comhair an Rialtais, os comhair comhlachtaí poiblí agus os comhair an phobail i gcoitinne i dtaobh na Gaeltachta amach anseo.

Tá roinnt daoine ann chun cabhrú linn inniu. Cuirim fáilte roimh an Seanadóir Pádraig Ó Céidigh; an tUasal Justin Gleeson, stiúrthóir an Ionad Breathnaithe um Thaighde Uile-Éireann in Ollscoil Mhá Nuad; Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh ón Institiúid um Thaighde Gníomhaí; agus an tUasal Aodhán Mac Cormaic ón Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta.

Sula gcloisimid ráitis uathu, ba mhaith liom a chur ar aird na bhfinnéithe de bhua alt 17(2)(l) den Acht um Chlúmhilleadh 2009 go bhfuil finnéithe faoi chosaint ag lánphribhléid maidir leis an bhfianaise a thugann siad don choiste seo. Má ordaíonn an coiste dóibh, ámh, éirí as fianaise a thabhairt i leith ní áirithe agus má leanann siad dá tabhairt amhlaidh, níl siad i dteideal dá éis sin ach pribhléid cháilithe i leith na fianaise seo acu. Ordaítear dóibh nach dtabharfar ach fianaise a bhaineann le hábhar na n-imeachtaí seo agus fiafraítear díobh cleachtadh parlaiminte a urramú nár chóir, más féidir, daoine ná eintiteas a cháineadh ná líomhaintí a dhéanamh ina n-aghaidh, ina hainm, ina ainm nó ina n-ainm ar shlí a bhféadfaí iad a aithint. Ba mhaith liom na finnéithe a chur ar an eolas freisin go ndéanfar na ráitis tionscnaimh seo a gcuirfear faoi bhráid an choiste a fhoilsiú ar shuíomh gréasáin an choiste tar éis an chruinnithe seo.

Meabhraítear do chomhaltaí an cleachtadh parlaiminte atá ann le fada nár chóir dóibh tuairimí a thabhairt maidir le duine atá taobh amuigh de na Tithe nó maidir le hoifigeach ina ainm, nó ina hainm, ar shlí a bhféadfaí iad a aithint. Meabhraítear do na cuairteoirí a bhfóin phóca a mhúchadh. Cuireann siad isteach ar an gcóras fuaime agus taifid.

Táim an-bhuíoch as an gcuireadh ar thug an coiste dúinn teacht anseo chun an tuarascáil seo a chur os a chomhair agus ina láthair. Tháinig sé seo ón dearcadh a bhí agam don tábhacht a bhaineann le hanailís eolaíochta a fháil ar chúrsaí sóisialta agus eacnamaíochta na tíre. Mar dhuine ar rugadh agus tógadh é i nGaeltacht Chonamara, agus a bhfuil cónaí air ann go fóill, cheap mé gurb é an áit is fearr le tosú ná breathnú ar na Gaeltachtaí ar fud na hÉireann. Chuige sin, le tacaíocht ó mo rúnaí, Cáit Nic Amhlaoibh, thosaigh muid ag déanamh roinnt staidéir agus taighde ar an mbealach is fearr a fháil amach go díreach céard atá sa bpictiúr nó ar an scáileán maidir le cúrsaí sóisalta agus eacnamaíochta i bpobail na Gaeltachta éagsúla ar fud na tíre, is é sin sa seacht gceantar Gaeltachta a luaigh an Cathaoirleach.

Gabh muid ansin go Peter Browne, stiúrthóir an Comhairle um Thaighde in Éirinn, the Irish Research Council. Phléigh muid an tuairimí a bhí againn leis. Chabhraigh sé linn agus chuir sé tuilleadh forbartha ar an smaoineamh nó dearcadh a bhí againn. Chuir sé muid i dteagmháil le Eoghan McCarthy, atá liom anois, le Justin Gleeson, príomhanailísí agus stiúrthóir an All-Island Research Observatory, AIRO, agus leis an Ollamh Linda Connolly a chabhraigh linn ó thaobh chur chuige an doiciméid seo. Chaith muid bliain go leith ag cur an rud seo le chéile. Tá obair bliain go leith i gceist uilig ann. Doiciméad beo a bhí ann. Bhí muid á athrú, á mhéadú, agus á leathnú agus muid ag dul ar aghaidh.

Ní polasaí atá anseo. Níl sé suas dúinn polasaí a chur le chéile. Tá sé suas don Roinn, don Aire, don Rialtas, agus do Theach Laighean input láidir a bheith acu ansin. Is é an bunús atá leis seo ná go mbeadh fíricí agus staitisticí le fáil againn agus leis an dream atá ag plé le cúrsaí teanga, cúrsaí cultúir agus cúrsaí oibre sna Gaeltachtaí ar fad. Ansin beifear in ann na fíricí sin a úsáid chun an polasaí is éifeachtaí a chur ar fáil. Táim an-bhuíoch leis an Uasal Mac Cormaic agus lena Roinn. Bhí cruinniú againn ar ball beag agus bhí an Roinn breá-sásta tacú leis an doiciméad seo agus lena chur chuige. Cabhróidh an t-eolas seo leis an Roinn agus beidh sé mar input agus an Roinn ag forbairt polasaithe do na Gaeltachtaí ar fad.

Níl mé ag iarraidh dul isteach sna mionphiontí atá ann. Go ginearálta, táimid ag breathnú ar an struchtúr atá sa tír ar fad ó thaobh na nGaeltachtaí de. Téimid isteach ansin sna mionGhaeltachtaí atá sna ceantair ar fad. Dírimíd ar an mórphictiúr den tír ar fad, agus ansin ar an mionphictiúr. An fáth go ndearna muid é sin ná go bhfuil difríochtaí idir ceantair. Mar shampla, tá ráta dífhostaíochta de thart ar 6% i Maigh Cuilinn i nGaillimh. Tá na figiúirí cruinne sa doiciméad. Tá an ráta more or less mar a chéile leis an ráta sa chuid eile den tír. I Mám Trasna, 15 míle siar an bóthar, is é an ráta dífhostaíochta rud éigin leithéidí 14% nó 15%. Níl sé sin ach 15 míle nó deich nóimead siar an bóthar. Tá difríochtaí móra idir ceantair fiú amháin taobh istigh de na Gaeltachtaí. Beidh an t-eolas sin tábhachtach do na daoine a chuireann polasaithe le chéile agus a chuireann iad i bhfeidhm. Cabhraigh sé leo tuiscint gur caithfidh polasaí beagáinín difriúil a bheith ann do roinnt cheantar sna Gaeltachtaí. Tá briseadh síos mion ar phróifíl éagsúla sa tuarascáil. Mar gheall ar Ghaeltacht Chonamara amháin tá sonraí ar an gCeathrú Rua agus ar an Eachréidh. Tá sonraí den saghas sin mar gheall ar na Gaeltachtaí ar fad.

Sin é mo chuid. Táim breá-sásta ceisteanna a fhreagairt ach sin é an mórphictiúr. Beidh mo chomhghleacaithe anseo in ann mioneolas i bhfad níos fearr a chur ar fáil agus ceisteanna a fhreagairt. Más mian le daoine ceisteanna a chur i mBéarla, táimid breá-sásta iad a fhreagairt i mBéarla.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Seanadóir. Tá a fhios agam nach féidir leis fanacht don chruinniú uilig. Tá sé ag déanamh iarracht an dá thrá a fhreastal inniu. Tá na finnéithe eile chun fanacht linn agus ceisteanna a fhreagairt. Glacaim leis go mbeidh siad in ann freagraí cuí agus ceart a thabhairt maidir leis an tuairisc.

Mr. Justin Gleeson

I thank the Chairman and committee for inviting me to make a presentation on our recently published report, Socio-Economic Profile of the seven Gaeltacht Areas in Ireland. I thank the Irish Research Council which, along with Senator Ó Céidigh, provided co-funding to enable the production of this report.

Before I start, I would like to say a quick word about the All-Island Research Observatory, AIRO, and the work we undertake. We are based at the social science institute at Maynooth University where we have been working on the development of mapping and evidence-based planning projects across the island of Ireland for the last decade or so. In more recent years our team has been working very closely with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on the national planning framework for Project Ireland 2040, with the regional assemblies on the development of the regional spatial and economic strategies, and with numerous local authorities on their local economic and community plans, LECPs. All of these initiatives are linked by a common thread, the requirement for the creation of a robust evidence baseline from which sound policy can be developed.

The report about which I am talking this afternoon certainly comes from this line of thinking. It was instigated as a means of providing Government, public bodies and local community groups with key information and visual feeds on which realistic and objective policies can be created. The overarching objective is to enhance the development of the Gaeltacht regions effectively for people living in those communities. As part of the dissemination strategy for the 2016 census, the CSO has published small-area population statistics on a wide range of geographical scales from the level of the State as a whole to that of the local neighbourhood. Included in this, the CSO has produced such data for the seven Gaeltacht areas and the 26 language planning areas, LPTs, as established under the Gaeltacht Act 2012. Based on this data, our report is the first detailed publication made available to profile demographic, social and economic characteristics of the Gaeltacht areas and their local communities actively.

To support the economic indicators and employment further, a detailed jobs profile has also been prepared for each LPT which provides detail on the number of resident workers and local jobs in each area. This profile will prove to be a useful document in future planning and research related to the Gaeltacht. It will be of use to all communities residing within the Gaeltacht and will provide interested parties and groups with an array of data for use in research, planning, policy-making and funding applications.

The report provides a detailed individual profile of each Gaeltacht area and LPT and also highlights the unique challenges that face different parts of each Gaeltacht, including population decline, aging populations, high unemployment rates and extremely high levels of disadvantage. It is clear from the report that no two Gaeltacht areas are the same. Some are in a far better social and economic positions than others.

I will now provide a very brief summary of some of the key facts covered in the report. In 2016, the total population residing in the Gaeltacht was just under 100,000. This accounts for approximately 2.1% of the State's population. To compare this with the population of other local authorities, it is approximately the same as the population of County Kilkenny. In terms of population size, the Galway and Donegal Gaeltachts are by far the largest, accounting for approximately three quarters of all residents. The other five areas have much smaller populations, ranging from just over 9,000 in Mayo to less than 2,000 each in Meath and Waterford. This population is equivalent to that of a town the size of Abbeyfeale or Enniskerry.

Between 2006 and 2016, the population of the Gaeltacht increased by 4.3%. That is about a third of the national growth rate, approximately 12.5%, over the same period. Over this ten-year period there was a clear spatial pattern in levels of population change within the Gaeltacht areas. By far the largest increases in both numbers and percentage rates have been in the Galway Gaeltacht area, where the population has expanded by approximately 4,500 or 10%. Much of this increase has taken place in the immediate commuter hinterland of Galway city however. Growth rates have been much lower in Gaeltacht areas of other counties, with the populations of Meath and Waterford expanding by approximately 10%, Cork by 3.5%, and Kerry by a marginal 0.6%.

As with national trends, not all areas across the country have seen increases in population over the last decade. In fact, the populations of more than a quarter of all electoral divisions in Ireland have decreased since 2006. This is also the case in large parts of rural and peripheral areas across the Gaeltacht. Throughout this period the most notable declines have been within the population residing in the Gaeltacht areas of Donegal and Mayo. The highest level of decline over the last decade has been in the Gaeltacht area of Mayo, which witnessed a total reduction in its population of approximately 500 people or 4.5%. The Gaeltacht population residing in Mayo stands out among all other counties and has been suffering continual decline, with its current population now just 30% lower than in 1966.

Relative to the State average, the combined Gaeltacht areas have a much higher percentage of older people in their population profile, more than 16.5%. In comparison, the State average is approximately 13.4%. However, there is substantial variation in the age profile across the seven Gaeltacht areas, with approximately a fifth or 20% of the populations of Mayo, Donegal and Kerry being aged 65 or older. In contrast, rates are much lower in the Gaeltacht areas of Meath, Galway and Waterford where rates are below 13%. As with the Gaeltacht areas, there is also a lot of variation across the LPTs. Nearly a third of the populations of Arranmore and west Mayo are aged 65 or older. In contrast, the areas of Barna and Knocknacarra and Galway city east have rates below 10%. The latest CSO population projections for 2018 reveal that there will be an additional 900,000 persons aged 65 or older in the country by 2051. This equates to an increase from 13.4% in 2016 to more than a quarter of our population by 2051. With the rates in many Gaeltacht areas already well above the State average, this changing demographic trend will likely have a significant impact on future service delivery and community well-being within the Gaeltacht areas.

According to the 2016 census, there were just under 7,000 persons unemployed in the Gaeltacht areas, a census unemployment rate of 15.1%, which is higher than the State average of 12.9%. In contrast to this, rates are much lower in other areas. It is less than 13% in the Cork Gaeltacht area. The highest rates are in the Gaeltacht areas of Donegal and Mayo, where more than a fifth of the labour force is classed as unemployed.

Over the last 25 years education attainment has greatly improved across Ireland. This trend for increased overall educational attainment is also recorded in the Gaeltacht, although there is still a wide gap between attainment rates in the Gaeltacht and in the State as a whole. In 2016, the highest level of education of more than 11,000 persons residing in the Gaeltacht was classified as no formal education or primary education only. This represents a rate of 17%, which is much higher than the State average of 12.5%. Again there is a big fluctuation within the seven Gaeltacht areas, with approximately a quarter of the populations of both the Donegal and Mayo Gaeltacht classified as having no formal education or primary education only. All other Gaeltacht areas recorded much lower rates, below 13%.

The difference in educational attainment levels is even more stark between the LPTs, with Barna and Knocknacarra recording a rate of 4% while Arranmore recorded a rate of more than 40%.

The main measure of affluence and disadvantage in Ireland is based on the Pobal HP deprivation index. It is regarded as the key metric used in funding allocation programmes. The index is based on three dimensions of affluence and disadvantage: demographic profile; social class composition; and labour market situation. As a whole, the combined Gaeltacht areas have a recorded Pobal deprivation score of -2, which is classed as marginally below average. The Gaeltacht areas of Donegal and Mayo are both classed as being disadvantaged while the other Gaeltacht areas are classed as marginally above average. According to the Pobal data, 27% of the population of the Gaeltacht falls within the categories of being disadvantaged or very disadvantaged. This is a worrying trend which is likely to accelerate in years to come.

I am happy to take questions on my presentation, the findings and use of the wider report, and to propose next steps.

Go raibh míle maith agat. Tugaim cuireadh anois do Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh a chur i láthair a dhéanamh.

Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh

Go raibh maith agat, a Chathaoirligh. I dtús báire ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil leatsa, leis an Seanadóir agus le baill an chomhcoiste as ucht na fáilte a cuireadh romham anseo inniu. Cuirim fáilte freisin roimh an bproifíl a chuir AIRO le chéile agus a sheol an Seanadóir ag an Oireachtas anuraidh.

There is no doubt the figures contained in the AIRO report are indeed very stark. They present us with two choices. We can either ignore the people behind those figures and simply let the market take its course, or we can focus on the people behind the figures, work with them and their communities and target investment, so that Gaeltacht areas can realise their full potential. If these were urban areas, I think we know the course of action that would be taken. If we were to run with the former option, we would be turning our backs on communities and letting them die, and with them our very valuable cultural resources. Taking the latter option of investment will not deliver instant results but will yield benefits in time. Rural areas in general are under pressure. While much of the narrative about rural places is very negative, things do not have to be like that. There are several examples from across the European Union and beyond of rural regions and territories that have turned the corner. Indeed, the dominant message coming from the international literature and international practice is that with due investment, rural areas have a key role to play in the economic and social development of Ireland and Europe.

I want to take the opportunity to share an example of a Gaeltacht community that is turning the tide. Three years ago, the Gaeltacht community in Uíbh Ráthaigh undertook a profile of their locality. It was similar to the profile AIRO undertook. The figures were not entirely surprising. They confirmed what local people knew and the hunches they had. The study drew attention to the micro-geographies that Senator Ó Céidigh referred to, the differences with the Gaeltacht and the differences between Uíbh Ráthach and Corca Dhuibhne. It also had the advantage of getting people to sit up, take notice and realise that things had to be done. Instead of being negative or complacent about the state of things, the local chomhcoiste began to work on a strategy and to engage with South Kerry Development Partnership and Údarás na Gaeltachta to take positive action. The result was that Údarás na Gaeltachta convened a multi-agency task force. I am honoured to be a member of that task force. Over the past year and a half, we have worked to compile an integrated three-year action plan for Gaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh. The process has been characterised by positivity and partnership.

The context is that, having observed worrying trends of Irish language decline and population decline in the Gaeltacht, the local community had identified and articulated the need for collective action. It presented that to the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Kyne, and to others at Éigse na Brídeoige 2018. Dr. Mac Cormaic was at the Éigse this year when we looked at the follow-up, action and implementation of that. I welcome the Department's contributions to enabling the steps to be taken forward. The area profile, which I co-authored with Shane O’Sullivan from Limerick Institute of Technology, brought to light and clearly quantified many of the measures of decline in the Gaeltacht. At the same time, we identified the need for strategic investments and proper interventions. From the outset, the planning process was characterised by collaboration. That collaboration involved local government, State agencies, local development bodies, the private sector and, of course, community and voluntary organisations. It was also recognised that while the focus was on the Uíbh Ráthach Gaeltacht, we had to look at those conditions in the wider sub-county area that were contributing to population decline as well as those that could give rise to solutions. It was agreed also that the approach should reflect the Action Plan for Rural Development and align with Government policy. It is very clear from the layout of the plan how our pillars match up with the pillars in the rural development plan. Each goal has a series of objectives and under each objective, we have specific targets and indicators. All of the agencies such as local government agencies, the State sector and so on, have signed up to deliver on the specific actions. It is not just a wish list; these are now embedded in the work programmes of the different agencies and they have committed to following through on them.

The report will be formally launched shortly and the Department, the chomhcoiste and Údarás na Gaeltachta are working to that end. The plan, which is both area based and people centred, gives effect to several aspects of national policy in respect of spatial planning and sustainable development. It also dovetails with national policy objectives on the promotion of the Irish language and the development of Gaeltacht communities. In addition to pursuing local delivery of national objectives and public goods, this plan reflects best international practice. The processes through which it was devised and the deliverables it advances reflect the strategic approaches recommended by international bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, and the European Spatial Planning Observation Network, ESPON, among others. Moreover, the model that has emerged in Gaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh over recent months, and the outline and content of this plan, represent templates that have the potential to be transferred and adapted for other geographies. They offer a solution to many of the issues that are presented in the AIRO report. The Uíbh Ráthach plan also acknowledges that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work, and that bespoke and tailored interventions are required in line with local conditions and potential. In presenting how its objectives will be operationalised, the plan lists the agencies that will be involved in the delivery of each action. The regional manager of Údarás na Gaeltachta has played an important role in enabling the agencies to come together and in ensuring their commitment to the delivery of agreed actions.

Much of the literature and narrative on rural development has tended to focus on the problems. We need to take stock. While this literature has generally been frank and realistic, it has done little by way of engendering solutions or inspiring confidence. Such negativity may well have undermined confidence in the ability of rural areas to attract investment. Therefore, instead of talking down rural Ireland, it is important, while acknowledging the challenges, to accentuate the positive and to specify how investments will enable places to realise their potential. In 2013, the OECD published an extensive report on the performance of regions across 35 countries. The report was entitled All Places have Potential and it demonstrated that when investment strategies are pursued, rather than subsidies, rural areas outperform urban areas in terms of medium and long-term growth. This significant body of evidence shows the significant merits of public investment in rural areas. That body of evidence has grown in recent years and was very much to the fore in the recent OECD conference that took place in Edinburgh. At that conference, the OECD demonstrated that "while rural regions are individually small in terms of their level of regional gross domestic product (GDP), mobilising their growth potential can make a significant cumulative contribution to national GDP." The OECD’s thesis, which is based on experiences from across several countries, is in concert with an earlier publication from Ireland, New Approaches to Rural Development, produced by the National Economic and Social Council, NESC, which had strongly advocated integrated, multi-sectoral and collaborative approaches, including more significant investment in the LEADER model. Unfortunately, despite exceeding its targets nationally and locally, in the programme period to 2014, the LEADER budget has been dramatically cut due to reduced Government co-funding in the context of significant economic challenges.

It is now evident that the LEADER funds need to be restored to their previous levels and that LEADER organisations need to revert to being independent partnerships, not subcommittees of county councils. Throughout south Kerry, but in Uíbh Ráthach in particular, the community and voluntary sector has the demonstrable capacity to act as a key strategic partner in the planning and delivery of development. A report which I produced in 2015 also provides data on the capacity of civil society, namely, community and voluntary groups. These are well adept and experienced in service delivery and mobilising citizens, and they need to be part of the follow-up to today's conversation. That rural vibrancy study also provides very clear pointers on the most appropriate development trajectories locally.

Work in Uíbh Ráthach is ongoing. I am not here to say that it offers a magic bullet. I can say with conviction, however, and based on evidence that it represents a positive and a strategic response to the realities presented in the AIRO report. I expect that other Gaeltacht areas will respond in their own ways. It is essential that policymakers and State bodies allow them to respond, support them and enable innovation. Our engagement should be on their terms. We know from international experience that rural areas have potential and bottom-up development works.

Tá sé go maith cloisteáil faoi na hathruithe atá ag tarlú in Uíbh Ráthach ach go háirithe. B'fhéidir go mbeidh seans ann do cheantair eile agus b'fhéidir go ndéanfaimid plé ar sin sa chuid eile den chruinniú.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Fáiltím roimh an deis seo labhairt leis an gcoiste inniu faoin taighde a choimisiúnaigh an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh, le comhthéacs a thabhairt don phlé ar ball, agus léargas beag a thabhairt don choiste ar an dul chun cinn atá á dhéanamh maidir le cúrsaí Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta.

Mar is eol don choiste, ba é an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh i gcomhar le hOllscoil na hÉireann Maigh Nuad, a choimisiúnaigh an taighde seo, a bhfuil sé mar phríomhaidhm aige eolas a chur ar fáil do na heagraíochtaí pobail atá ag tabhairt faoi phleananna teanga a ullmhú sna limistéir phleanála teanga Ghaeltachta faoi Acht na Gaeltachta 2012 agus, dar ndóigh, don Státchóras ar mhaithe le sonraíochtaí a fháil agus a thabhairt don Státchóras maidir le stádas eacnamaíochta an Ghaeltacht agus araile. Cé go n-aithnítear go léiríonn an tuarascáil na dúshláin mhóra atá le sárú maidir leis an nGaeilge sa Ghaeltacht, ní mór a thuiscint go bhfuil céimeanna praiticiúla á dtógáil ag an Stát chun feabhas a chur ar chúrsaí. Is í an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge polasaí an Rialtais i leith na Gaeilge. Tá an straitéis á cur i bhfeidhm go córasach ag réimse páirtithe leasmhara, lena n-áirítear na Ranna Rialtais éagsúla, Foras na Gaeilge agus Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Ba mhaith liom ar dtús báire díriú ar an ról ríthábhachtach atá á imirt ag Údarás na Gaeltachta sa Ghaeltacht. Mar is eol don choiste, is é Údarás na Gaeltachta atá freagrach as forbairt eacnamaíochta, teangeolaíochta agus cultúrtha na Gaeltachta, agus creideann an eagraíocht sin go bhfuil an cur chuige agus na straitéisí cuí aige chun tabhairt faoi na dúshláin éagsúla a shonraítear sa tuarascáil agus atá faoi chaibidil againn inniu. Tá sé mar bhunsprioc ag an údarás tacú leis na pobail Ghaeltachta agus forbairt a dhéanamh orthu, de réir an mhaoinithe a bhíonn curtha ar fáil don eagraíocht.

Caithfear an Ghaeilge agus pobal na Gaeltachta a chur chun cinn agus a threisiú chun pobail labhartha Ghaeilge níos láidre a chothú. Tá dúshláin mhóra leagtha roimh an eagraíocht agus tá sé ag feidhmiú le díocas agus le tiomantas a chinnteoidh go mbeidh neartú agus saibhriú na Gaeltachta mar thoradh ar a gcuid iarrachtaí. Beidh buiséad iomlán caipitil de €9.7 milliún á chur ar fáil ag an Roinn don údarás i mbliana le hinfheistiú a dhéanamh i mbonneagar fisiceach fiontraíochta agus gnó sa Ghaeltacht. Sa bhreis air sin, tá ciste €3.86 milliún curtha ar fáil don údarás faoin gciste um athghiniúint agus forbairt tuaithe, chomh maith leis an gciste faoi leith ar fiú €2 milliún do Pháirc na Mara i gCill Chiaráin atá curtha ar fáil faoin gciste um fhorbairt fiontraíochta réigiúnaí. Fágann sé sin seo go mbeidh ciste caipitil os cionn €15 milliún ar fáil don eagraíocht in 2019, sin le hais níos lú ná €6 milliún trí bliana ó shin. Tá an Roinn cinnte mar sin go gcabhróidh an méadú suntasach ar a mbuiséad caipitil leis an údarás tacaíocht a thabhairt do na gnólachtaí atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht agus fostaíocht a chruthú do mhuintir na Gaeltachta dá bharr.

Aithnítear sa Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge go bhfuil gá le córas pleanála teanga a fhorbairt agus a chur i bhfeidhm ag leibhéal an phobail. Is tríd an bpróiseas pleanála teanga a thabharfar tacaíocht ar bhealach córasach, comhtháite don Ghaeilge mar theanga phobail agus teaghlaigh i gceantair Ghaeltachta agus i gceantair eile taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht, áit a bhfuil tacaíocht á tabhairt ag an bpobal don Ghaeilge. Tugtar feidhm reachtúil don phróiseas pleanála teanga in Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, áit a leagtar síos an próiseas faoina bhféadfaidh pobail i gceantair éagsúla aitheantas a bhaint amach mar limistéir phleanála teanga Ghaeltachta, mar bhailte seirbhíse Gaeltachta agus mar líonraí Gaeilge. Is trí phleananna teanga a ullmhú agus a fheidhmiú ag leibhéal an phobail a thabharfar tacaíocht don Ghaeilge mar theanga phobail agus teaghlaigh i gceantair Ghaeltachta. Is é an cuspóir a bheidh ag na pleananna teanga ná cur le húsáid na Gaeilge sna ceantair lena mbaineann siad chomh fada is a bhaineann sé le cúrsaí teaghlaigh, pobail, oideachais, sóisialta, gnó agus poiblí.

Táthar i mbun na hoibre seo i gcomhar le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta le tamall anuas agus tá dul chun cinn suntasach á dhéanamh. Tá ullmhúcháin pleananna teanga ar siúl ar fud na Gaeltachta agus sna bailte seirbhíse Gaeltachta. Faoi dheireadh na bliana seo chugainn beidh feidhmiú pleananna ar bun i ngach ceann den 26 limistéar. Cheana féin, tá breis agus deichniúr oifigeach pleanála teanga ceaptha agus i mbun oibre. Nuair atá an próiseas faoi lán seoil, beidh breis agus 30 duine fostaithe ó cheann ceann na Gaeltachta ag saothrú leo i gcomhar leis na pobail Ghaeltachta agus le cabhair leanúnach na Roinne agus an údaráis. Níl amhras ar bith ach gur dul chun cinn suntasach é sin agus go mbeidh an próiseas, agus é faoi lán seoil, mar thaca lárnach criticiúil do phobail Ghaeltachta na tíre.

Ní call dom a rá go bhfuil polasaithe agus bearta atá fianaise-bhunaithe ag croílár an phróisis agus ag croílár an chláir oibre trí chéile atá idir lámha ag an Roinn agus ag an údarás. Is fiú a lua sa chomhthéacs sin go bhfuil geographic information system, GIS, forbartha ag an Roinn agus ar fáil le breis agus trí bliana anuas. Tá fáil air ar an Ieathnach faoi leith ar shuíomh na Roinne a bhaineann le gnóthaí pleanála teanga. Rinneadh é seo a fhorbairt i gcomhar leis an Central Statistics Office, CSO agus páirtithe leasmhara eile. Faoin gcóras seo tugtar sonraí ann maidir le daonra agus úsáid na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht ar bhonn limistéir pleanála teanga. Tugtar sonraí ann chomh maith maidir le rollú scoileanna Gaeltachta chomh maith le lonnaíocht seirbhísí luathbhlianta, agus is maith liom a fheiceáil go bhfuil úsáid bainte as an gcóras seo mar chuid den obair a bhí ar bun ag an bhfoireann taighde.

Is fiú a lua chomh maith go bhfuil béim faoi leith ar úsáid faisnéis chainníochtúil agus cháilíochtúil sna treoirlínte pleanála teanga, a bhfuil eagrán 5 díobh foilsithe ag an Roinn le gairid. Foilsíodh an chéad eagrán díobh cúig bliana ó shin, agus mar atá ráite, tá béim faoi leith ann ar a thábhachtaí is atá sé go leanann na ceanneagraíochtaí pleanála teanga ag úsáid faisnéis chainníochtúil agus cháilíochtúil mar bhunús a gcuid pleananna. Ní miste a lua chomh maith go bhfuil nasc ar an leathanach céanna chuig cáipéisíocht ábhartha an CSO agus foinsí eolais eile. Tá i gceist nasc a dhéanamh leis an gcáipéis seo atá déanta ag an bhfoireann anseo inniu, agus an nasc sin a chur ar an suíomh. Mar a luaigh an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh ar ball, bhíomar ag caint faoi seo taobh amuigh den doras agus feicimid go bhfuil deis anseo go n-oibreoimid as lámh a chéile ar mhaithe le tuilleadh sonraíochtaí. Beidh an fhoireann taighde ag obair ar chéim 2 den togra seo, agus feicim deiseanna don dá thaobh go n-oibreoimid as lámh a chéile ar mhaithe le tuilleadh sonraí a chur isteach sa chóras GIS agus tuilleadh sonraí a chur ar fáil go héasca do na pobail teanga sna limistéir Ghaeltachta. Is dul chun cinn maith a bheadh ansin dá n-éireodh linn é sin a dhéanamh.

Luaigh mé an clár tacaíochtaí pobail agus teanga de chuid na Roinne chomh maith. Nuair a luaitear an straitéis agus an próiseas pleanála teanga agus an chaoi a bhfuil an Roinn ag déanamh cúram díobh, is baolach go ndéantar dearmad scaití ar an gcistíocht shuntasach atá á cur chun fónaimh bliain i ndiaidh bliana mar a bhaineann sé le clár caipitil agus reatha na Roinne ó thaobh na Gaeltachta de.

De thoradh an chúnaimh seo, ar fiú breis agus €9.7 milliún é i mbliana, tá an Roinn ag leanúint ar aghaidh i gcomhar le páirtithe leasmhara eile chun bonneagar na Gaeltachta a threisiú tuilleadh. Leis an infheistíocht seo, táimid in ann raon leathan eagraíochtaí Gaeltachta a chumasú chun a gcláir oibre a fheidhmiú, chun leasa na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta trí chéile. Luaim leithéidí Tuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta, Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta anseo go háirithe, eagraíochtaí a bhfuil infheistíocht suntasach déanta iontu le bliain anuas. Tá i gceist leanúint leis an infheistíocht sin go ceann roinnt blianta.

Nuair a chuirtear tairbhe na hinfheistíochta atá á déanamh sa Ghaeltacht faoi scéimeanna na Roinne féin, gan trácht ar infheistíocht Údarás na Gaeltachta san áireamh, níl aon amhras ach go bhfuil go leor fostaíocht lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha á cruthú agus á cothú go díreach nó go hindíreach sa Ghaeltacht. Ní gá dom a rá, ar ndóigh, go bhfuil sé seo uilig ag tacú le fíorú chuspóirí na straitéise agus an Plean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 a foilsíodh i nGaoth Dobhair anuraidh.

Ní miste dom a mheabhrú don choiste go bhfuil forbairt na Gaeltachta mar réimse oibre faoi leith sa phlean gníomhaíochta. Mar sin, níl aon amhras ar an Roinn ach gur ar leas na Gaeltachta a rachaidh cur i bhfeidhm na mbearta sin agus bearta ábhartha eile an phlean. Tá thart ar 180 gníomh istigh sa phlean gníomhaíochta sin le cur i bhfeidhm ag os cionn 60 páirtí éagsúla agus tá an coiste monatóireacht ann le brú ar aghaidh leis an obair sin le déanamh cinnte de go mbainfimid na spriocanna atá ann amach. Ní miste a nótáil chomh maith, ach an oiread leis an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge, go bhfuil leas na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta bainteach le raon leathan forais Stáit lena n-áirítear an Roinn, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus na Ranna Stáit eile, go háirithe na cinn a bhfuil tionchar mhór acu ar an nGaeltacht ar nós an HSE, an Roinn Gnóthaí Fostaíochta agus Coimirce Sóisialaí agus eagraíochtaí eile nach iad.

Os rud é go n-aithnítear gur mó an rath a bheidh ar chúrsaí má thugtar faoi ar bhonn comhpháirtíochta, tá spiorad na meithle i gcroílár ár gcuid iarrachtaí trí chéile mar Roinn. Fearacht polasaithe ábhartha eile Stáit a bhaineann go díreach nó go hindíreach le leas na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta is ea is mó dul chun cinn a dhéanfar má aithnítear go forleathan na freagrachtaí atá i gceist. Leis na tacaíochtaí seo agus an méid atá ar siúl agus beartaithe mar atá luaite agam, tá an Roinn muiníneach go bhfuiltear ag tabhairt aghaidh go céimiúil agus go córasach ar na dúshláin atá roimh na ceantair Ghaeltachta agus, dá réir, ar na dúshláin is suntasaí atá le sonrú sa taighde atá mar ábhar an phlé seo inniu.

Gabhaim buíochas do na finnéithe as na cuir i láthair. Tógfaidh mé ceisteanna anois ó na baill atá i láthair. Is féidir roinnt ceisteanna a chur, freagraí a fháil agus teacht ar ais ansin más gá. Ní gá gach uile cheist a chur ag an am céanna.

Gabhaim buíochas fáchoinne na cuir i láthair ó thaobh na tuarascála de. Bhí deis againn san AV room é seo a fheiceáil ní ba luaithe. Tá obair faoi leith déanta ag an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh agus ag a chomhghleacaithe leis seo a chur chun tosaigh. Mar a dúirt sé, ní polasaí é seo ach tairgeann sé go cuimsitheach an t-eolas uilig atá amuigh ansin agus atá scaipthe thart ag an CSO agus ag foinsí eile le chéile. Cuireann sé pictiúr iontach soiléir os ár gcomhair go bhfuil fadhb faoi leith sna Gaeltachtaí agus fiú amháin, nuair a théitear isteach níos mine ansin, go bhfuil Gaeltachtaí faoi leith atá thíos leis níos mó ná Gaeltachtaí eile, mo Ghaeltacht ina measc ó thaobh Dhún na nGall agus Maigh Eo in aice leis.

Ceann de na ceisteanna a chuirfinn ar an Seanadóir ná, nuair a chuir sé é seo uilig le chéile, agus fios aige ar chúrsaí Gaeltachta mar dhuine sa Ghaeltacht, ar chuir rud ar bith iontas air b'fhéidir nach raibh eolas aige air roimhe sin? Tá mise ag amharc ar na figiúirí seo agus ceann de na rudaí a sheasann amach dom ná, má amharcaim ar mo cheantar féin i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill agus má amharcaim ar na hoileáin ar nós Árainn Mhór agus Toraigh i gcúrsaí fostaíochta de, tá sé briste síos ó thaobh talmhaíochta, coillte agus iascaireachta de. Ar Árainn Mhór tá níos lú ná cúigear fostaithe sna hearnáil sin. Níl a fhios againn ach b'fhéidir go bhfuil triúr i dtalmhaíocht agus beirt san iascaireacht ach má théimid go dtí Toraigh, áit ina bhfuil 26 duine le post, níl aon duine acu fostaithe i gcúrsaí iascaireachta. Seasann sé sin amach go láidir domsa mar is oileán atá suite i lár an fharraige é agus tá fadbhanna mór ansin ó thaobh dífhostaíocht mar fheicimid an leibhéal dífhostaíochta is airde i nGaeltacht ar bith ann. Níl siad ábalta dul i mbun an iascaireacht mar shlí beatha. Dá mbeadh muid ag amharc ar na figiúirí seo b'fhéidir 60 bliain ó shin, bheadh muid ag amharc ar fhostaíocht i bhfad níos fearr ná mar atá sé inniu agus an mórchuid den fhostaíocht sin ag teacht as an iascaireacht agus an talmhaíochta. Ní bheadh mórán fostaíochta ó thaobh coillte de ach bheadh an mhórchuid ansin agus bheadh na poirt agus na calafoirt lán le hiascairí as na hoileáin sin.

Caidé a sheas amach don Seanadóir nach raibh a fhios aige faoi roimhe sin nó cad a sheas amach dó ó thaobh an tuarascáil?

Gabh mo leithscéal ach beidh orm imeacht go dtí an Coiste um Iompar, Turasóireacht agus Spóirt. Tá ceisteanna móra á phlé ansin díreach anois agus tá brón orm go mbeidh orm imeacht i gcúpla nóiméid. Tá mé fíorbhuíoch don Teachta as ucht an tacaíocht don doiciméad seo. Ní haon ionadh é gur luaigh an Teachta a thacaíocht agus labhair sé mar gheall ar san AV room agus an cur i láthair a bhí againn ansin.

Tagraím do na rudaí móra a chuir iontas orm. Ceann amháin ná na difríochtaí atá ann idir ceantair Ghaeltachta éagsúla. Luaigh an Teachta Toraigh mar shampla. Tá os cionn 40% dífhostaithe ar Thoraigh. Some 40% are unemployed. Ansin, tagraím don obair agus an taighde a rinne na leaids ar cén áit a bhfuilimid ó thaobh cúrsaí sóisialta agus eacnamaíocha. Tá cuid de na Gaeltachtaí agus is féidir iad a chur ar an leibhéal céanna ar nós tíortha tríú domhanda. Mar Ghaeilgeoir, duine Gaeltachta agus duine go bhfuil fíorbhródúil as an tír seo, mar atá an Teachta agus mar a táimid uilig, cuireann sé díomá orm gur ar bhealach, níor thug muid faoi, agus níl mé ag cur milleán ar aon duine agus níl sé seo ag brath ar dhaoine nó ar Airí nó ar éinne mar sin, nár éirigh linn tabhairt faoi cuid de na fadhbanna is mó. Mar a dúirt mé cúpla uair cheana, b'fhéidir go bhfuil níos mó Gaeilge á labhairt ar Dorchester Avenue i mBostún nó mar atá b'fhéidir thiar i Ros Muc nó i Leitir Móir mar shampla.

An dara rud a chuir as dom ná Toraigh agus Maigh Eo ach go speisialta. Luadh anseo ar ball i gcur i láthair go bhfuil i bhfad níos mó den daonra ina seandaoine agus daoine óg ach i lár báire níl mórán daoine ar chor ar bith le hais an cuid eile den tír. Ciallaíonn sé sin go bhfuil na daoine go bhfuil an fuinneamh acu, daoine óga, gasúir meánscoile, mic léinn tríú leibhéil agus mar sin de, imithe ag obair áit éicint eile. B'fhéidir go bhfuil siad imithe go Baile Átha Cliath, go cathair na Gaillimhe, go Bostún, go Sydney nó go áit éicint mar sin. Ba mhaith liom Mr. Gleeson a thabhairt isteach air seo but my sense is that we are losing the key energy. We have some young kids and we have a very ageing population but we have nothing in between to keep our economy and our society living and thriving. The more European and the more worldwide and global we get, the more important it is that we hold onto who we are as a people. It scares me that we are losing that. I would like if Mr. Gleeson would come in and verify or challenge what I am saying in an overall picture.

Mr. Justin Gleeson

What was probably most surprising for us in undertaking this work was that we would regularly do pieces for regions, local authorities and so on but when one is looking at one area such as the Gaeltacht as a whole, there are vast differences in place, particularly across the language planning areas.

There is variance even in basic things such as the percentage of people who speak Irish daily. The rate is 3% in some areas and it is very high in others. When on looks at the differences in sociodemographic elements such as deprivation and unemployment the challenge for the language plans in each language planning area is very different. A big difficulty will be trying to grasp that. That was the most surprising finding. Some of the most pressing issues relate to the aging population and the declining population in some areas. So much of the overall figures for the Gaeltacht, the population of 100,000 and the recent growth, are based on growth in the commuter areas surrounding Galway. There are very high levels of non-Irish nationals and very low levels of Irish speakers in those areas. The Gaeltacht figures seem much higher than they really are. That is the most pressing thing. The biggest danger for Gaeltacht areas such as those in Mayo and in Deputy Doherty's own area of Donegal is the declining population and the aging population. If we are back here talking about this in 20 years' time there may not be many people left in some of these Gaeltacht areas. Addressing those issues, keeping people in these areas, and attracting young people in the workforce back to these areas will be a big challenge for a number of these Gaeltacht areas. The Gaeltacht areas in Galway and Meath are quite vibrant. People in those areas have access to jobs and are within commuting distance of jobs. There is a very different scenario in those areas.

Tá ceist ar an ábhar seo agam don Roinn. Ó thaobh an aosa óige de, tá sé soiléir ó na staitisticí go bhfuil an pobal atá againn sa Ghaeltacht níos sine. Tá daoine iontach óga ansin, ceart go leor, ach tá daoine san aoisghrúpa ó 18 bliain suas ag imeacht agus ag fágáil. Fágann siad chun dul go dtí an choláiste agus ní thagann siad ar ais. Téann siad ar imirce. We had a terrible tragedy in Donegal over a month ago now. Four young lads lost their lives in a tragic car accident. Talking to the families, we learned that three of the four had planned to emigrate to Australia quite soon. Some had just got their visas and all the rest. What stood out to me was the number of their friends who came back from Australia. I was talking to one of these friends recently who told me that there was a mass in Sydney at which 100 young people from Donegal and around that area had turned up. It shows where our young people are. It is partly a matter of job opportunities but, as can be seen here, it is a also question of being more likely to have no access to broadband, or no Internet at all, if one lives in a Gaeltacht area.

There are also social issues. I do not want to run down my own area because it is great craic. When we won the Ulster final there was no better place to be for those couple of days than in Gaoth Dobhair. However, because we have lost so many young people, some of the craic has gone out of the area. There is not the same energy and vibrancy. How can a situation like that be reversed? Many people had thought that as austerity eased off people would come home. Some are coming home. Home is where the heart is. Others, however, are still planning to go away and do not see opportunities in their own community.

B'fhéidir go mbeidh an cheist dheireanach oiriúnach do Dr. Ó Caoimh. Ba mhaith liom tuairimí an dochtúra a chloisteáil ar an cheist sin. Ó thaobh na n-oileán Gaeltachta, leiríonn an staidéar seo go soiléir go bhfuil muid ag bun an dréimire ó thaobh seirbhísí poiblí, banda leathan, fostaíochta, agus daonra. Táimid ag cailleadh cuid mhór daoine óga. Tá obair mhór le déanamh ó thaobh polasaithe teanga. Tá an Roinn ag tabhairt tacaíochta do ghrúpaí pobail atá ag déanamh sárobair. Tá deontais agus achan rud mar sin ann freisin ach léiríonn an staidéar seo nach bhfuil siad ag obair. Dá ndéanfadh an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh tuairisc eile i gceann cúig bliana, bheadh sé mar an gcéanna nó b'fhéidir níos measa. Sin mo thuairim. Tá súil agam go mbeinn contráilte. Tá an am ann anois fá choinne positive discrimination ó thaobh na Gaeltachta. Caithfimid pleananna a dhéanamh atá bunaithe ar na fíricí. Tá na figiúirí soiléir sa leabhar seo ag scairt amach go hard linn, mar Theachtaí agus mar Sheanadóirí, agus leis an Rialtas agus leis na Ranna Stáit ach go háirithe. Tá an am anois ann le tús áite agus positive discrimination a thabhairt don Ghaeltacht nach bhfuil feicthe aici go fóill.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Tá go leor faisnéise agus staitisticí istigh sa leabhrán. Tá sé sin ann ní amháin dúinn, don údarás nó don fhoras, ach don státchóras uilig le húsáid a bhaint as. Tá ábhar machnaimh sa tuarascáil don dream a chuireann seirbhísí poiblí ar fáil. Aontaím leis an Teachta faoi sin. Táim cinnte go bhfuil an Seanadóir ag seoladh cóipeanna chuig na Ranna eile. Fuair muid féin cóip sa Roinn. Dírímid ar chúrsaí teanga agus ar chúrsaí eacnamaíochta istigh sa Ghaeltacht ach tá rudaí eile ann nach bhfuil aon smacht againn orthu mar Roinn. Táimid in ann aird na n-eagras éagsúil a tharraingt ar na nithe sin. Beimid ag déanamh é sin.

Ar chúpla rud eile a luaigh an Teachta agus an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh, ní thagann go leor de na gasúir a chaillimid nuair a théann siad ag an ollscoil ar ais. Aithnímid uilig é sin. Tá cónaí orainn sa nGaeltacht muid féin agus feicfimid é chuile lá. Tá cúpla straitéis ag an údarás. Táim ag ceapadh go dtacódh sé le dul i ngleic leis an bhfadhb sin. Is é an chéad cheann ná an gréasáin de mhoil dhigiteacha timpeall na nGaeltachtaí. Fuair an t-údarás go leor airgid ón Roinn Forbartha Tuaithe agus Pobail le haghaidh an gréasán sin a thógáil. Tá ceann ar bun i mo cheantar féin, an Spidéal. Tá sé á thógáil faoi láthair. Tá ceann eile ar an gCeathrú Rua. I gceann cúpla bliain eile beidh siad caite chuile áit timpeall na nGaeltachtaí agus ar na hoileáin.

Is é an buntáiste atá leis sin ná go gcruthaíonn sé spás do dhaoine aonáracha, b'fhéidir daoine atá ag obair taobh thiar de Ghaillimh, teacht ar ais go dtí leithéidí an Spidéil agus gnólachtaí beaga a bhunú i gceann de na spásanna seo, áit a bhfuil seirbhís leathanbhanda d'ardluas ann. Beidh siad in ann coincheapanna a chur le chéile agus gnólachtaí nua a bhunú. Mar a thuigeann an Teachta féin, má fhaightear na daoine sin ar ais chun a bheith ag obair sa cheantar, gheofar luach breise astu. Beidh siad ag plé leis an gCumann Lúthchleas Gael agus le cumainn éagsúla eile ar nós cumann dramaíochta. Beidh níos mó ama acu seachas a bheith ag taisteal dhá uair a chloig in aghaidh an lae soir go Parkmore nó áit eile ar an taobh eile de Ghaillimh. Gheofar luach breise ar ais uathu. Samhlaím gur cuid den jigsaw é sin. Ní réiteoidh sé gach fadhb. Beidh níos mó airgid ag dul isteach san údarás i mbliana ónar Roinn féin agus ón Roinn Forbartha, Tuaithe agus Pobail. Cuirimid fáilte roimh an tacaíocht sin.

Tá straitéis nua ag an údarás le díriú ar an diaspóra freisin le daoine a mhealladh ar ais. Is cineál éiceachórais é seo. Bím ag úsáid an focal sin go minic. Caithfear deiseanna a chruthú chun daoine atá sa diaspóra a mhealladh ar ais. Leis an ngréasán de mhoil digiteacha seo, beidh cuid dóibh ag déanamh machnaimh ar teacht ar ais lena gcuid clanna, rud a chuirfear le huimhreacha sa scoileanna. Is céimeanna beaga iad atá le cur leis an bpictiúr iomlán. Déanfaidh an dá rud sin - na moil digiteacha agus an straitéis atá dírithe ar an diaspóra - difríocht sa spás sin.

Cuirim fáilte roimh na moil digiteacha. Tá ceann i nGaoth Dobhair. Cuireann sé seirbhís ar fáil do daoine a bhfuil post acu i mBaile Átha Cliath agus atá abálta obair sa bhaile. Tá páirc gnó ag Údarás na Gaeltachta sa pharóiste in aice leis, Cloich Chionnaola.

Bhain ceann de na gnóthaí ann, Celsius, gradam Deloitte and Touche top 50 amach mar cheann de na comhlachtaí atá ag déanamh easpórtála. Tá siad ag déanamh rudaí a bhaineann le temperatures in óstáin agus refrigeration sna hotharlanna agus a leithéid mar sin ach níl leathanbhanda sa pháirc ghnó sin. Mura bhfuil comhlachtaí mar sin in ann ábalta leathanbhanda a bheith acu, tá deacracht ann fa choinne daoine as Cloich Chionnaola agus Gort an Choirce atá ag obair i mBaile Átha Cliath agus atá ag iarraidh agus ábalta a bheith sa bhaile dá mbeadh na seirbhísí sin acu. Caithfimid níos mó a dhéanamh. Tuigim go bhfuil rudaí beaga ag tarlú.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Aontaím leat go bhfuil sé ríthábhachtach go bhfaighimid an leathanbhanda ardluais isteach sna ceantair seo. Is ceist don Roinn Cumarsáide, Gníomhaithe ar son na hAeráide agus Comhshaoil é go príomha agus tuigim go mbíonn an t-údarás ag caint go rialta leis an Roinn sin faoi rolladh an phlean náisiúnta leathanbhanda amach. Tuigimid na deacrachtaí atá ag baint leis an bplean sin freisin.

Aontaím leis an Teachta Doherty. Tá an ceart ag an Dr. Mac Cormaic. Is rud é seo atá níos leithne ná díreach a bheith faoin Stát amháin. Tá sé tábhachtach go dtiocfadh na Ranna éagsúla le chéile. Más féidir liom cúpla moladh ginearálta a dhéanamh. B’fhéidir go mbeifear in ann teacht tríd an gcoiste seo, Ceann acu ná go mbunófaí working group nó grúpa oibre a chuirfeadh doiciméad le chéile le go mbeadh teagmháil acu le Ranna Stáit éagsúla ó thaobh riachtanais sna Gaeltachtaí de. Tá cúpla rud an-tábhachtach. Tá sé an-deacair cead pleanála a fháil sna Gaeltachtaí agus tá a fhios ag na Teachtaí Doherty agus Ó Cuív faoina gceantair féin. Is é ceann de na ceisteanna is mó nuair a thagann daoine, constituents, chugainn bíonn siad á rá nach bhfuil siad in ann cead pleanála a fháil agus ní bhaineann sé sin leis an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta. Caithfear na bunchlocha sin a bheith ann. Is féidir leis an údarás dul amach agus a bheith ag iarraidh ar imircigh a theacht abhaile. Mura bhfuil an bonneagar acu sa bhaile, níl mórán pointe acu a bheith ag teacht abhaile. Caithfear é sin a chur le chéile i dtosach báire.

Rud eile a luaigh an Teachta Doherty ná positive discrimination. Rinneamar é sin ó thaobh Aerfort na Sionainne agus inner city development agus rudaí eile. Ceann de na míbhuntáistí a bhí ann ná gur leanamar ar aghaidh ró-fhada leo maidir le cuid de na buntáistí cánach a bhí ann nuair nach raibh siad ag teastáil. Ba chóir breathnú ar cheantair Ghaeltachta agus baineann sé seo leis an Roinn Airgeadais ionas go mbreathnófaí ar na constaicí níos mó agus níos deacra atá ann do phobail chun gnó nó SMEs a bhunú sa Ghaeltacht ná mar atá ag ceantair eile.

Mar shampla, maidir leis na SMEs uilig, chlis orthu nuair a bhí na fadhbanna eacnamaíochta sa tír seo agus sna tíortha eile. Bhí 80% díobh seo i gceantair lasmuigh de na cathracha móra. Four out of the five SMEs that failed during the recession were within regional Ireland, that is 80% of them. I ask, with the leadership of the údarás, the Cathaoirleach's lead and this committee's lead, that a structure of a focus-group might be put together to create a recommended policy document that goes across Departments to look at this. Health is another huge issue in the Gaeltacht region as both witnesses have highlighted in this document.

Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh

In addressing the question by Deputy Doherty, the breadth and range of this conversation underscores the importance of the céimeanna beaga, the joined-up approach. It is not the a one-Department responsibility here. One talks about the youth, that missing piece in the middle. Giving people a choice to return to the areas from which they have left, after they have received third level education, is what we need to look at. We need to put infrastructure in place to give people that choice.

Last week I gave a lecture to the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. These are much more remote than our Gaeltacht areas, yet people go there for third level education, whereas we are sending people from the rural to the urban and expecting them to go back. We need to invest in the technology and hard infrastructure, in order to give people the choice to stay in the Gaeltacht and to give people lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht the deis to go into the Gaeltacht for education and to call into rural areas generally speaking. It is about putting those infrastructures in place to give people the choice, the hard and soft infrastructure, which is one's social capital and quality of life. Investment in community development yields dividends. It is not a luxury, it is not an add-on. Community and voluntary organisations were more adversely affected during the austerity period than any other sector that received public investment. There is a deficit and now we are beginning to reap the consequences of that deficit.

It is also important to recognise the importance of public sector investment. Private sector investment cannot take risks. It cannot innovate to the same extent as the public sector and private capital will always follow the public capital. The State needs to take the lead here in putting the investment and that positive discrimination into the Gaeltacht areas.

The other thing that we need to do in the future is to look at the geography. What is really clear from the All-Island Research Observatory, AIRO, report is the importance of the micro-geographies. The limistéir pleanála teanga are a new micro-geography and often more appropriate than the broad Gaeltacht areas. I have seen in my own area the differences between Gaeltacht Uíbh Rathach and Corca Dhuibhne. Within Uíbh Rathach - small as it is - the coastal parts are much more dynamic that the mountainous parts, and we must get that right. We also must look at what are called in planning terms these "fuzzy boundaries". That is where the language serves towns where the relationship between the rural and the urban is so important. We need to change the way county councils go about county development plans. They need to move from being land-use - we have just talked about planning permission - towards how we promote the potential of those places and how one local area is connected to another. We also need to look across county boundaries. We need to look at that fuzzy boundary and the spaces within which people operate rather than the administrative boundaries that we often impose on the planning system.

I agree with the first statement made by Deputy Doherty. This is not a policy document this is an evidence base. We need to move towards evidence-based planning. We need to move away from developer-led planning to plan-led development and that is why the investment in this kind of research is absolutely fundamental and will stand us in good stead in the longer term.

Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh gach duine chuig an seoladh seo. Gabhaim comhghairdeas leis an Seanadóir Ó Céidigh. Gaeltacht areas have issues with migration in particular with na daoine óga. Why is that now at its peak? Is this due to broadband and the availability of work that has already been mentioned? Are there cultural choices that people are making? A CSO report yesterday said that there was 13.4% state-wide youth unemployment which has to be a major contribution to that migration.

Tá ceist amháin agam le haghaidh an Dr. Mac Cormaic. Does the Department of Cultural, Heritage and the Gaeltacht work with the Departments of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Employment Affairs and Social Protection around issues of youth employment?

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

It is minimal in terms of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. We work with and have had discussions over the past year with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation regarding employment in general and the work of Údarás na Gaeltachta with whom we have regular contacts. Údarás has agreements between itself, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA on how they manage their affairs. There are certainly contacts there between the organisations.

We have to equip young people with the skills of today rather than the skills of the past.

We have a number of programmes such as the TechSpace programme in Irish language youth organisations and schools. We started in the Gaeltacht with this a number of years ago and we are rolling it out all across the country this year. It equips young people with technological and digital skills that they can use in the future and enhance their employment prospects.

The other thing about Irish language speakers in general is that we have so many jobs in the public service. There is a huge shortage on the panel the Public Appointments Service seeks to establish of Irish language speakers to work in the public service, and it is the same in the EU with the end of the derogation on the use of Irish by the end of 2021. There are great employment opportunities for people with the Irish language, and I am speaking, in particular, about people who are Gaeltacht-based. If a person can read and write, has a good approach and can speak Irish, there should be no reason he or she should not get a job in the public service, either at home in Ireland or in the European institutions.

In the conversation around working from home, employment is a draw. Is there not a role for the State to be leading on that front with good broadband to allow people with Irish to work for the Department or the State from their base?

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

I know that there are significant opportunities, particularly in translation work with the end of the derogation of Irish in the EU. There are significant opportunities and there will be more of them for people to work from home over the next couple of years. A lot of outsourcing will take place. That will either end up in some of the bigger translation companies, some of which are non-Gaeltacht-based and others which are Gaeltacht-based. The reality in which it works is that much of this work is not done by the companies themselves but is subcontracted to people who are working from home. There will be an expansion in the level of work available for those translation services over the next couple of years.

Go raibh maith agat. I note Dr Ó Caoimh's comments on educational attainment. What I am hearing from his presentation is that while the educational attainment is improving, there is still a gap between the Gaeltacht areas and the State average. What are the obstacles, are there initiatives that worked in making higher education more accessible, and how can we harness those initiatives?

Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh

There is the accessibility to higher education, the outreach delivery, and the delivery of courses within the Gaeltacht. That is where broadband and such infrastructure comes into play. The reason the Gaeltacht figures are lower in educational attainment in the AIRO report is also to do with the age profile of the population and the fact that it is an older profile. That is one of the contributing factors there. That is one side of the issue.

While we may be looking here at the people who live in the Gaeltacht and may be working elsewhere, we also need to talk about the diaspora, the people who would live in the Gaeltacht and are gone. It is about giving them the choice. When we talk about things like skills audits, we need to be not geographically bound or confined. We need to look at the potential skills pool. That is very important when we engage with organisations like Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland and they look at the profile of an area and say there is not a supply of workers there. They are not looking at the potential supply. It is important, as I said in my intervention, to look at the potential of places and to invest in that potential. That includes investment in education and in giving people the choice to come back as well.

Mr. Justin Gleeson

Following up on the point about the potential of areas, and commenting also on Deputy Doherty's migration piece and young people, while one of the big challenges coming down the line is the older population, the other side of that is we have just gone through one of the biggest population booms in the country, where crèches that were now filled are dropping in terms of numbers, but primary schools throughout the country, including in Gaeltacht areas, are packed, and this is moving into secondary schools. In the next five to ten years our universities and higher education institutes are going to be busier than they have ever been.

There is a real opportunity and challenge over the next five or ten years to retain all of these young people who are living in the Gaeltacht and who may be going on to university by providing the services in the Gaeltacht, so that when these young people go to university and get further qualifications, they will be attracted to come back. There is definitely an opportunity there but there is a time element to it. This is a huge cohort of the population that is going through the population cycle at the moment, and in ten years they will have left. There is a challenge and an opportunity on that side.

Tá eolas an-spéisiúil ann. Níl polasaí ann. Níl réiteach na faidhbe ann ach tá eolas ann. Ba mhaith liom cúpla rud a lua ón tuarascáil. Some figures are interesting. Bhí mé ag breathnú mar shampla ar Éireannaigh nach náisiúnaigh iad agus bhí mé ag cur dhá cheantar i gcomparáid lena chéile, ceantar Dhúiche Sheoigheach Thuar Mhic Éadaigh agus ceantar ar an Sáinneach, nó Conamara Láir mar a thugann na taighdeoirí air. Tá níos mó daoine a tháinig thar sáile isteach i nDúiche Sheoigheach agus níl mé ciníoch. Is é an rud a deir an méid sin liom go bhfuil níos mó fostaíochta i nDúiche Sheoigheach. Tá 7.4% i nDúiche Sheoigheach agus tá 4.4% i gConamara Láir. Nuair a bhreathnaím ar rannpháirtíocht san fórsa saothair, feicim 55.8% i nDúiche Sheoigheach agus 51% i gConamara Láir. Nuair a bhreathnaím ar fhórsa saothair ag an obair, is 90% atá i nDúiche Sheoigheach agus 73% i gConamara Láir. Má bhreathnaím ar dhífhostaíocht i measc an fhórsa saothair, is 9.6% atá i nDúiche Sheoigheach agus 26.2% i gConamara Láir. Má bhreathnaím ar mhíbhuntáiste, is -05 atá i nDúiche Sheoigheach agus -12.3 atá i gConamara Láir.

Cén fáth a bhfuil mé ag cur an dá cheantar sin i gcomparáid lena chéile? Táim á dhéanamh sin mar tá an dá cheantar an-scoite amach. Tá siad i bhfad ó gach uile áit. Tá daonra scaipthe iontu. Níl aon bhaile mór i gceachtar acu. Is léir ó gach uile theist go bhfuil ceann amháin ag déanamh níos fearr ná an ceann eile. Tagann sé seo go dtí ceist na pleanála agus ceist maidir le go leor rudaí. Cén fáth ar tharla sé seo? Tharla sé, i ndáiríre, trí thimpiste. Baineadh triail as cúpla miontionscal agus d'fhás cuid acu, péire go mór mór sa cheantar, agus d'fhás go leor tionscail bheaga astu. Is ollmhór anois é agus tá a rian le feiceáil, ach ní rud é a rinne pleanáil an Stáit nó na comhairle contae. Go deimhin féin, ní raibh siad i bhfabhar na rudaí a rinneamar nó a rinne muintir an cheantair nó na daoine a tháinig isteach a chuir fostaíocht mhór ar fáil.

Caithfimid ceist a chur ar an gcéad dul síos. An féidir gach rud a phleanáil nó an gcaithfimid ugach a thabhairt do dhaoine agus saoirse agus cead a gcinn a thabhairt dóibh? Táimid imithe craiceáilte ar phleananna. D'fhéadfaimid seomraí a líonadh le mionphleananna de cheantair, ach tá dearcadh difriúil agamsa ar an saol. An rud a theastaíonn ó ghnáthdhuine a bheadh ag iarraidh fiontraíocht a chur chun cinn ná bunseirbhísí. Fág fúthu ina dhiaidh sin. Cuir amach as a mbealach. Seo é an áit a dtagann polasaí mór an Stáit. Tá an Dr. Mac Cormaic anseo inniu, ach i ndáiríre tá sé sa chás céanna is a bhí ag Peadar nuair a cuireadh síos go hIfreann é ag déanamh cosaint ar Chonán Maol Mac Morna nuair a leagadh agus a maraíodh mac an diabhail.

Tá sé curtha ar aghaidh ag an Rialtas, agus gan aon chosaint aige ar rudaí nach bhfuil smacht ar bith ag an Dr. Mac Cormaic ná ag Aire orthu, is é sin le rá, dearcadh iomlán an Stáit atá frith-thuaithe. Má bhreathnaimid ar an gceantar seo, an chuid de atá istigh sa chathair nó an-ghar don chathair, ar nós gach uile áit atá gar do chathair, tá sé ag dul i bhfás, agus gach uile áit atá i bhfad i gcéin nó ar oileán, tá an daonra ag titim. Leis an fhírinne a rá, níor thug sé an staidéar seo leis sin a rá liom mar tá polasaí iomlán an Stáit níos mó agus níos mó dírithe ar na cathracha. Ní thuigim cén fáth mar tá na cathracha plódaithe cheana féin agus tá fadhbanna ollmhóra iontu. Ní gá ach breathnú ar chúpla cheann.

Níl ceist an leathanbhanda mar a bhí á rá anseo inniu. Bhí mé ag éisteacht leis an raidió Dé Domhnaigh seo caite agus is beag nár ghabh mé isteach mar shílfeadh duine nach bhfuil aon leathanbhanda amuigh faoin tuath. Lena cheart a thabhairt d'Eir, ní don Rialtas, níl ceantar beag tuaithe ar bith nach bhfuil leathanbhanda i gcuid den cheantar. An rud atá ann ná go bhfuil sé sa tríú nó sa cheathrú cuid den cheantar agus níl sé sa chuid eile, ach tá sé i gCarna, i gCorr na Móna, i dTuar Mhic Éadaigh agus mar sin de. Áit ar bith a raibh seanmhalartán ann ag Telecom Éireann, tá leathanbhanda ag dul ar thart ar 100 teach timpeall é. An fhadhb atá ann ná i gcuid eile de na tithe níl aon leathanbhanda, ach ceapann daoine nach bhfuil aon leathanbhanda taobh thiar den tSionainn nó taobh ó thuaidh de Ghaillimh, agus níl sé sin fíor. An rud a theastaíonn uainn ná go mbeadh leathanbhanda ag gach uile theach agus i ngach uile áit.

Níl aon seirbhís iompar poiblí agus ní chaitear dada ar iompar poiblí i go leor ceantair thuaithe. Mar shampla, má thógaimid an áit i mo Dháilcheantar a luaigh mé, Dúiche Sheoigheach, níl aon bhus poiblí ann, agus maidir le Conamara Lár, fágann an bus ar maidin agus tagann sé ar ais tráthnóna. Níl aon tacsaí sa cheantar atá fóirdheonach nuair a theastaíonn níos mó ná busanna fóirdheonaithe, agus is amhlaidh é sin le cuid mhaith pobail tuaithe. Is polasaithe pobail tuaithe iad seo, ní polasaithe Gaeltachta. Tá an plean spásúil náisiúnta dírithe go hiomlán ar chathracha agus ar bhailte móra.

Le seachtain anuas bhí mé thíos i bPort Láirge leis an gCoiste um Fhorbairt Tuaithe agus Pobail. Bhíomar in áit ar a nglaoitear Dunhill agus bhí caint ar fhorbairt tuaithe agus b’é an Coiste um Fhorbairt Tuaithe agus Pobail na Tithe seo a bhí ann. Mar a tharla, bhí cur i láthair ó bhainisteoir contae agus cathair Phort Láirge. Chaith sé an t-am ar fad ar fhorbairt ollmhór atá i gceist acu in oirthear na cathrach, ar theorainn Chontae Chill Chainnigh. Níor labhair sé ar aon rud eile. Níor labhair sé ar fhorbairt tuaithe ar chor ar bith.

Bhí mé ag cruinniú de Chomhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe an lá faoi dheireadh idir na feidhmeannaigh agus na Teachtaí Dála. I gcomhthéacs Conamara agus Gaeltacht Chonamara, ní raibh i gceist acu a fhorbairt ach an Cheathrú Rua. Má dhéantar é sin, tuigeann na finnéithe go mbeidh gach uile cheantar eile atá istigh sa staidéar seo, siar nó thuaidh ó, ag dul a titim. Is de thoradh é sin ar an bpleanáil náisiúnta atá ar bun, tugtha síos go dtí an leibhéal áitiúil ag na comhairlí contae atá dílis do phleanáil an Stáit agus an rud atá ráite leo. Seo an bhrí atá siad ag baint as. Tá polasaí ag an gcomhairle chontae gan aon teach sóisialta a thógáil ar thalamh na ndaoine. Fadó, thabharfadh feirmeoir suíomh in aisce do mhac daoine sa cheantar ag an gcomhairle contae. Dúirt siad glan amach linne go bhfuil polasaí acu agus go raibh an Roinn Cumarsáíde, Gníomhaithe ar son na hAeráide agus Comhshaoil ag rá gan aon teach sóisialta a thógáil ar thalamh na muintire. Má tá ceantair Ghaeltachta bocht, mar shampla, agus tá na finnéithe ag rá go bhfuil, beidh daoine ag iarraidh tithe sóisialta. Má tá daoine ag iarraidh tithe sóisialta, cuirfear amach as an bpobal iad go dtí an Cheathrú Rua, go dtí an Clochán, go dtí Uachtar Ard nó áit éigin eile le teach a fháil. Sin bánú tuaithe in ionad clann agus dream a bheith ag dul ag an scoil agus na rudaí sin ar fad.

Baineann an chuid is mó den fhadhb seo le bheith amuigh faoin tuath seachas a bheith sa Ghaeltacht. Níl a fhios agam an bhfuil aon fhigiúirí ag na finnéithe le comparáid a dhéanamh le ceantair theorannacha mar a chéile atá taobh istigh den Ghaeltacht agus taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht, mar shampla, in iarthar Thír Chonaill, nó i gCorcaigh nó áit éigin. Tá mé ag caint ar ceann sa Ghaeltacht agus ceann taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht a bheadh an suíomh fisiceach mar a chéile acu. Bheadh sé spéisiúil an chomparáid sin a dhéanamh.

Feictear domsa go bhfuil dhá bhuntáiste bheag ag an nGaeltacht thar an nGalltacht tuaithe, in aghaidh an mhóir bhrú ón bpolasaí iomlán Stáit atá ag ceilt infheistíocht ar na ceantair thuaithe. Nílimid ag fáil leath an oiread infheistíocht in aghaidh an chloiginn daonra agus atá na cathracha. Deirtear, ach a mhalairt atá sé, agus an t-imchruth gur a mhalairt atá fíor, go bhfuil sé i bhfad níos eacnamaigh ó thaobh an Stáit de a bheith ag forbairt cathracha. Má bhreathnaítear ar na fíorfhigiúirí, Roinn ar Roinn, tá céatadán i bhfad níos mó den chaiteachas istigh sna cathracha, in aghaidh an chloiginn daonra aisteach go leor. An rud a bheadh spéisiúil a dhéanamh ná, mar a deirim, an chomparáid a dhéanamh idir an dá thaobh.

Feictear domsa go bhfuil dhá bhuntáiste mhór ag an nGaeltacht. Tá struchtúr Údarás na Gaeltachta ann. Is údarás é atá i bhfad níos leithne ná mar atá Enterprise Ireland nó na local enterprise offices, LEOs, nó IDA Ireland, mar shampla, do na ceantair thuaithe taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht. Déarfainn go bhfuil a rian sin le feiceáil, agus má aimsítear na figiúirí, bheadh an-iontas orm go ginearálta mura bhfeicfear go bhfuil forbairt níos fearr ag ceantair thuaithe Gaeltachta ná a d’fheicfí sa Ghalltacht. Mar is eol don Dr. Mac Cormaic, nuair a thóg an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta ceannas ar fhreagracht as na hoileáin ar fad, b'fhearr i bhfad na seirbhísí a bhí ag na hoileáin Ghaeltachta ná na hoileáin Ghalltachta, agus bhí orainn iad sin a thabhairt aníos ar bhonn daonna. Mura n-aithnímid go bhfuil 80% den fhadhb seo ag baint leis an bpolasaí atá ag an Stát i leith ceantair tuaithe seachas le ceantair Ghaeltachta, ní réiteoimid an fhadhb, agus tá 95% de réiteach na faidhbe taobh amuigh de réim na Gaeltachta.

An dara buntáiste mór atá ag an nGaeltacht ná an teanga, mar is tionscal ollmhór é an teanga. Níl a fhios agam cén chaoi go gcomhairtear mná tí na Gaeltachtaí le bheith dífhostaithe nó fostaithe san aon áireamh. Go mór mór ó tharla nach bhfuil aon scrúdú maoiniú á chur air agus nach bhfuil aon cháin á gearra air, seans nach bhfuil sé ag teacht aníos sna staitisticí, ach nuair a fhaightear amach faoin gcaighdeán beatha na ndaoine sin agus faoin ioncam fírinneach atá ag na daoine, go hiomlán dlíthiúil, gheofar amach go bhfuil siad níos fearr as ná duine a bheadh ar jobseeker's allowance nó farm assist taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht, ach seans nach bhfuil sé ag taispeáint sna staitisticí. Tá an-bhuntáiste ann agus bá ceart dúinn tógáil orthu sin.

Tá sé fíor an méid a dúirt an Dr. Mac Cormaic nach bhfuilimid tar éis dóthain a dhéanamh. Is é sin an fáth go raibh rian ann ar feadh scaithimh go gcaithfeadh an t-údarás a dhéanamh cinnte de go raibh 30% den chruthú fostaíochta bainteach leis an teanga ar mhaithe leis an teanga go méid áirithe. Bhí rud eile ann nár bhac siad leis ag an am, áfach, gur shin an acmhainn aiceanta ab fhearr a bhí acu mar ní fhéadfadh aon cheantar eile ar domhain dul i gcoimhlint leo sna tionscail sin. Bhí sé acu féin go hiomlán is go huile.

Ba mhaith liom díriú isteach ar cheist amháin eile. Tá figiúirí ag na finnéithe faoi chomhdhéanamh an daonra agus faoi mhíbhuntáiste. Tá comhdhéanamh an daonra sna ceantair thuaithe Gaeltachta go dona, go deimhin sna ceantair is láidir atá an teanga. Tá go leor daoine óga agus dóthain seandaoine ach níl mórán daoine idir eatarthu. Cén fáth é sin? Ceann de na fáthanna leis sin, aisteach go leor, ná b'fhéidir nach bhfuil ardoideachas ag na tuismitheoirí, ach go bhfuil céatadán oll-ard ar fad ag fáil céimeanna ollscoile agus cáilíochtaí níos airde.

Nuair a fheictear ar an bhfigiúr sin a bhí agam faoi na daoine ó taobh amuigh atá ag obair i, mar shampla, nDúiche Sheoigheach, d'fhéadfaí an cheist a chur cén fáth nach daoine áitiúla atá ag obair. Tá siad ag obair. Níl siad ag seasamh thart ar an dól. Cén fáth nár thóg daoine áitiúla na poist sin? Rinne muid suirbhé air seo. An fhadhb a bhí ann ná go raibh 70% de na daoine óga sa cheantar sin fiú fiche bliain ó shin ag fáil céimeanna ollscoile, máistreachtaí agus dochtúirí san áireamh, agus bhí ardscileanna acu ach ní raibh na jabanna ann dóibh. Ní bheidh na jabanna laistigh den Ghaeltacht do mhéid áirithe dóibh.

Céard é réiteach na faidhbe sin? Is é an réiteach ar chuid mhaith de na fadhbanna sin ná bóithre agus leathanbhanda. Táimid ag teacht ar ais ag an mbunstruchtúr agus ag an bpolasaí. Tháinig mise den chonchlúid, i bhfad siar in 1997 nó 1998, mura mbeimís in ann na jabanna a fháil do na daoine sin istigh sa Ghaeltacht, d'fhéadfaimís na jabanna a fháil i nGaillimh. Tá réimse i bhfad níos leithne de jabanna i gcathair na Gaillimhe. Tá comhlachtaí biomedical agus chuile shórt ann. D'fheil sé sin do na daoine a bhí againn - cuntasóirí, dochtúirí agus araile. Má theastaigh uainn go bhfanfadh na daoine sin i nDúiche Sheoigheach caithfeadh bóithre agus leathanbhanda den scoth a bheith ann. Bhí sé mar chuid den pholasaí Gaeltachta agus, mar is eol do Dr. Mac Cormaic, bhí polasaí bóithre straitéiseach ann le díriú isteach ar an gceist sin. Bhí muid ag iarraidh bóthar maith go Gaillimh agus go Cois Fharraige a thógáil agus ceann eile a thógáil ó Ghaoth Dobhair isteach go Leitir Ceanainn ar an mbunús go mbeidh rogha ag daoine fostaíocht a fháil sa Ghaeltacht nó dul ag an bhfostaíocht agus teacht ar ais tráthnóna. Táimid ar ais ag an mórcheist, is é sin, pleanáil.

Baineann an dara rud atá fíorspéisiúil le hoideachas tuismitheoirí i gceantair faoi mhíbhuntáiste istigh i gcathair agus sna Gaeltachaí. Dá bhfaighfí céatadán áirithe de phobal éigin i mBaile Átha Cliath a bhfuil easpa oideachais ag na tuismitheoirí agus dá ndéanfaí anailís ar an oideachas a fuair a gcuid gasúr i gcomparáid le gasúir tuismitheoirí a bhfuil an easpa oideachais céanna acu i gceantair Ghaeltachta faoi mhíbhuntáiste, d'fheicfí difríocht ollmhór. Éiríonn i bhfad níos mó de na gasúir tuaithe ardoideachas a fháil. Is í an fhadhb atá ann ná go bhfuil ag eírí leo sa saol agus go bhfuil na ceantair seo chomh buntáistiúil ó thaobh gasúr de. Faigheann siad sár-oideachas ach níl muid sásta jabanna d'ardchaighdeán a chur ar fáil sna ceantair seo mar pholasaí Stáit. Tá an cás ag eírí i bhfad níos casta. Nuair a thosaigh mise ag plé leis an nGaeltacht ceapadh dá gcuirfimís jabanna ar fáil, gan aon cur síos orthu, go réiteofaí an fhadhb. Thóg an staidéar trí age profile, oideachas agus fostaíocht san áireamh. Fág as an bhfostaíocht. Tá an age profile go dona mar, cé nach raibh oideachas ag na tuismitheoirí, fuair na gasúir oideachais. D'éirigh leis na ceantair sin rud a dhéanamh nár éirigh le ceantair faoi mhíbhuntáiste sna cathracha a dhéanamh. Déanann an béal bocht simplí seo dochar don Ghaeltacht because ní aithníonn sé mionchastachtaí an scéil a bhfuil muid ar fad ag streachailt leis. Mura n-aithnímid é sin, ní féidir plean a réiteach ná na cúinsí a chur i láthair le go dtiocfaidh forbairt ar na ceantair. Ní hé polasaí áitiúil an údaráis an fhadhb. Is é an fhadhb ná polasaí ollmhór an Stáit atá claonta go hiomlán in aghaidh ceantar tuaithe.

B'fhéidir go dtabharfaimid deis do na finnéithe roinnt freagraí a thabhairt.

Nach bhfuil go 5 p.m. againn?

Níl. Tá suas go 4 p.m. againn.

Tá trí cheathrú uair an chloig againn.

Tá an Teachta tar éis labhairt ar feadh 20 nóiméad anois. Tá ceisteanna agam chomh maith.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Luaigh an Teachta tionscal na mná tí nó na gcoláistí samhraidh. Aontaím leis. Déanann muidne sa Roinn infheistíocht de scaití níos mó ná €4 milliún sa tionscal in aghaidh na bliana. Scaiptear an t-airgead sin thar thart ar 700 mná tí. Cuireann na coláistí an méid céanna isteach ann. Le chuile euro a fhaigheann na mná tí ón Roinn, tagann euro eile, ar a laghad, ón gcoláiste. Tá airgead ann. Mar atá a fhios ag an Teachta, tá an t-airgead sin saor ó cháin. Sin ceann de na buntáistí atá ann. Má tá clann lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht, tacódh sé sin leo sa samhradh. Táimid ag iarraidh, mar a luaigh an Teachta, fostaíocht d'ardchaighdeán a chur ar fáil don dream óg le go dtiocfaidís ar ais tar éis na céime ollscoile a bhaint amach.

Luaigh mé níos túisce na moil digiteacha atá ag an údarás. Sin cuid den phictiúr agus sampla den tacaíocht a chuireann an t-údarás ar fáil do thionscadail agus do chúrsaí fostaíochta sa Ghaeltacht go ginearálta. Tá eastáit bheaga tionscadail curtha i go leor ceantar tuaithe ag an údarás. Ní gá go mbeidís istigh i gceantair uirbeacha sa Ghaeltacht, mar is ceantar tuaithe an chuid is mó den Ghaeltacht. Ag dul siar Bóthar Chois Fharraige, áit a bhfuil mise i mo chónaí, feictear comhlachtaí ar nós Aran Biomedical atá leathbhealach idir an Spidéal agus na Forbacha. Má théitear siar chomh fada leis an gCnoc, tá Mylan ann agus comhlachtaí eile timpeall na háite. Tá comhlachtaí i gCasla freisin. Ní fheictear comhlachtaí móra lonnaithe mar sin sa chuid eile den tír. Aontaím leis an Teachta gurb é sin an buntáiste atá againn sa nGaeltacht a eascraíonn díreach as obair Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Tá dúshláin ann. Níl aon dabht faoi sin. Tá dúshlán maidir le daoine óga a mhealladh ar ais go dtí an Ghaeltacht. Feiceann siad an saol atá acu sa chathair. Tagann go leor acu ar ais nuair a dhéanann siad cinneadh go bhfuil siad ag iarraidh socrú síos agus clann a thógáil. Caithfimid deiseanna a chruthú dóibh. Caithfidh go mbeidh fostaíocht ann dóibh nuair a dhéanann siad an cinneadh sin. Aontaím leis an Teachta go bhfuil dúshláin ann.

Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh

Aontaím leis an Teachta maidir leis an difríocht idir na ceantair Ghaeltachta agus na ceantair lasmuigh di. Tá na figiúirí sin againn. Is féidir linn an comparáid sin a dhéanamh. Má thógtar cás Ghaeltacht Mhúscraí mar shampla, feictear go bhfuil ag éirí i bhfad níos fearr leis an gceantar Gaeltachta sin ná na ceantair Ghalltachta atá i ngar dó. Ach má dhírimid isteach ar Ghaeltacht Mhaigh Eo, mar shampla-----

Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh

Mayo. We see that in north Mayo, the Erris Peninsula and the area to the east have the same profile whether Gaeltacht or Galltacht. It is quite a complicated picture, which goes back to what we were talking about earlier, the need for a more localised approach to planning. The Deputy brought up the whole issue of planning and the differences between the areas of Connemara he mentioned. He mentioned that lár-Chonamara is doing so well because of its location. Instead of planning being all about regulation and control, it needs to be about facilitating development and facilitating innovation so that when opportunities come by we are able to translate them into jobs and innovation and to give people the opportunity to stay. A cultural change, in addition to a geographical change, is needed in the way we go about planning so that, for example, social housing can be provided in rural areas, as the Deputy mentioned. It makes a lot more sense to allow people to live where they can access their extended family and so on. It is about seeing the people behind the issues.

The Deputy also mentioned the role of the State in providing services. We know that in the past 20 years the neoliberal state is contracting. That is adversely affecting both disadvantaged urban communities and the more peripheral rural communities. In an age of globalisation, when the world is supposed to be shrinking, we actually find increasing peripheralities both in our cities and in rural areas.

That needs to be overcome and the way to do so is through public sector investment. The likes of Telecom Éireann were mentioned and it is the old telecom's infrastructure that now maps onto where the broadband is and so on. That further illustrates the merits of what the Deputy is saying in terms of a more innovative approach to planning, planning being about enabling and innovation, the need for public sector investment and the need for a focus on the rural aspect as well as the Gaeltacht aspect. That gem that the Gaeltacht has must be optimised along with the advantages that it has with the Údarás na Gaeltachta structure so that there is a governance structure locally and so that there is an agency that is focused on the Gaeltacht and on the language. I agree that they are the two advantages that the Gaeltacht has over the adjoining areas.

Mr. Justin Gleeson

I would like to point out one matter, getting back to the jobs and employment across the Gaeltacht areas. I am sure that plenty of work has been done by the údarás but there is a lot of interesting and useful data that are not being used to their full potential sitting within the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and within all the LEO companies across the country. They have gathered an enormous amount of material over recent years and it would be an interesting exercise to look at that to see exactly what industry is in the Gaeltacht. We are not talking about the údarás, Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland supported industries but more local level LEO supported companies that are on the ground.

Can Mr. Gleeson explain that again?

Mr. Justin Gleeson

Useful work could be done to look at the Gaeltacht areas to see the amount of businesses that are on the ground that are being supported by the State. I am not so much talking about companies supported by the údarás or by IDA Ireland but about companies that are in receipt of LEO funding and small and medium enterprises. A lot of that data is out there and it has not really been looked at yet to see what the status is and to look at the difference between Gaeltacht areas and non-Gaeltacht areas.

I want to make a point on this because it drives me cracked. We always think that everything in the Gaeltacht has to be small. My experience is that the kind of money that LEOs will give will not really create anything into the future. They are confined to less than ten employees. It is very possible to create jobs and there are some companies in the Gaeltacht that employ a few hundred people. Some of them are international and some of them are local. One of the problems is that there is a perception there that if it is rural then it has to be a LEO type operation rather than a serious industry that is competitive internationally. Some of them are local and competing internationally. I was at a meeting the other night and I was talking to a man from one of our local industries that employs about 60 people and I asked if they were worried about Brexit. He said they were not because they came through the downturn and they did fine. They were basically dealing with stone and they export the whole lot of it. To me, what made them succeed was attitude and intelligence. They do not tolerate the idea that they have to be small. I remember seeing a spatial strategy and I took the word small out of it. I got the draft when I was a Minister and they were only going to put small industries in rural areas. I wonder what the validation of this idea of small industries is rather than going for everything that can be got and if a 200 employee sustainable industry based on raw materials can be created then what about it?

Mr. Justin Gleeson

LEO is a good source and an opportunity to start up industry and to start from scratch. Funding is available and it would be interesting to feed into this by seeing what is in place across the Gaeltacht areas in comparison with other places. The data are there and have not been looked at.

I do not know if LEOs operate in the Gaeltacht. Maybe Dr. Mac Cormaic will tell us.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

The údarás.

Certainly when I was Minister I did a deal saying that the údarás would be the one stop shop. Why drive people cracked going to LEO, the údarás, this one and that one because it is all State money? The whole idea was that it was seamless from day one with the first employee to the day the company had 500 employees, 2,000 employees or 10,000 employees: they were with the údarás. It was a much better model and it served the Gaeltacht very well. As the companies grew the údarás grew. The other strategy seems to me always to smack of tokenism to smaller areas as somebody who has lived through that hell.

Tá sraith mhór fhada ceisteanna agam. Déanann na céad cúpla cheann déileáil leis an méid a bhí sa tuarascáil. Tá éacht déanta sa tuarascáil mar tá figiúirí os ár gcomhair gur féidir linn, sa bhreis ar an méid atá ráite ag an Teachta Ó Cuív, ár gcuid tuairimíocht a stiúrú maidir le cá háit atá na fadhbanna níos mó. Tá a fhios againn faoi roinnt gnéithe, ní tuairimíocht atá ann. Níl a fhios agam an bhfuil an tUasal Gleeson in ann an cheist seo a fhreagairt, ach nuair a rinne mise staidéar ar an tíreolaíocht san ollscoil, nuair a bhíomar ag déileáil leis an daonra nó an age profile, dá mbeadh an age profile atá leagtha amach anseo d'Árainn Mhór, mar shampla, os ár gcomhair, an rud a dúradh linn ná it was not a viable area anymore nó go raibh sé i ndainséar go raibh géarchéim tagtha agus nach raibh an pobal i lár baill ann chun cuidiú leis an bpobal a bhí ag éirí in aois. Tá géarchéim i trí áit nó b'fhéidir níos mó má fheictear ar na figiúirí d'Árainn Mhór ach go háirithe, nó Maigh Eo thuaidh ach ní hamháin na háiteanna sin. Féach ar líon na ndaoine atá thar 65 bliana d'aois. De ghnáth, nuair atá daonra den aois sin ann, bíonn siad ag brath ar an aoisghrúpa idir 25 bliana d'aois agus 44 bliana d'aois chun cuidiú leo agus chun seirbhísí agus a leithéid a thabhairt. An bhfuil tuairim ag an Uasal Gleeson maidir le viability nó an féidearthacht chun an bheocht a bheith sna áiteanna sin amach anseo?

Tagraím d'Uíbh Ráthach. Bhí an méid a bhí le rá ag an Dr. Ó Caoimh an-spéisiúil. Bhí sé ag rá nach féidir linn tascfhórsa amháin a bhunú chun déileáil leis na ceisteanna seo. Tuigim an méid atá á dhéanamh ag an Roinn maidir le ceantair pleanáil teanga agus a leithéid. Tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil orthu gach uile rud a dhéanamh agus go bhfuil Ranna eile ann. Más fíor an méid a dúirt an Dr. Ó Caoimh, nuair a d'éirigh chomh maith leis an tascfhórsa in Uíbh Ráthach, agus tá borradh ag teacht ann mar a léiríodh, an féidir linn cur leis an méid atá sna ceantair pleanála teanga ionas go dtuigeann siad gur tascfhórsaí iad chomh maith céanna chun gach duine a tharraingt isteach mar tá géarchéim i gceantair áirithe, cosúil le hÁrainn Mhór, cosúil leis na hoileáin agus cosúil le Maigh Eo thuaidh? Muna dhéanann muidne bogadh anois, i gceann cúig bliana beidh sé i bhfad níos deacra nó dodhéanta an taoide a chasadh, ach go háirithe daoine a mhealladh chun fanacht ann.

Cuireadh ceist le déanaí agus ardaíodh ceist ag Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath maidir le athlonnú tuaithe nó rural resettlement agus tá a fhios agam go raibh sé ag obair ar feadh tréimhse ach an bhfuil éinne ag smaoineamh ar teaghlaigh Ghaelacha a mhealladh chuig na ceantair Ghaeltachta?

Rud a bhí spéisiúil sna figiúirí ná an líon tithe atá folamh. Níl a fhios agam cén croth atá orthu mar feictear timpeall na tíre tithe atá folamh agus bheadh duine ag rá nach gcuirfeadh sé nó sí bó ná madra ann uaireanta. Ar Thoraigh mar shampla, tá 52 teach. Tá breis agus 50% de na tithe ar an oileán folamh. Ar Oileán Árann tá 173 teach fholamh. Ar Chléire fiú, áit atá daoine ag iarraidh lonnú go bhfios dom, tá 18 teach fholamha ann. An bhfuil aon scéim ann nó an féidir smaoineamh ar scéimeanna sa chruachás tithíochta ina bhfuilimid, chun na tithe seo ar fad a chur ar ais in úsáid agus teaghlaigh Ghaelacha, sé sin teaghlaigh le Gaeilge, a mhealladh isteach sna ceantair seo ionas go mbeadh beocht sna scoileanna, go mbeadh an dream atá in easnamh i lár baill ar ais ann, agus daoine atá imithe ar imirce a tharraingt ar ais agus cíos íseal a bheith acu agus a leithéid? Muna bhfuil scéim dá leithéid ann, an ndéanfadh an Roinn iarracht é a mhealladh as an Roinn Cumarsáide, Gníomhaithe ar son na hAeráide agus Comhshaoil mar is iadsan an dream atá i gceannas air seo? Níl an ráta imirce luaite so níl a fhios agam ach amháin go n-aithním, cosúil leis na baill eile, go bhfuil sé in easnamh.

Níl siad anseo ach b'fhéidir go bhfuil roinnt de na fadhbanna ag baint le hinfheistíocht sa Ghaeltacht thar na blianta. Tuigim an cruachás agus gach rud eile ach tá an buiséad caipitil a bhí ag Údarás na Gaeltachta ag fás arís ach de thairbhe teip thar na mblianta, tá na ceantair Ghaeltachta thíos leis an easpa airgid sin gur chóir go mbeadh ann. Conas ar féidir linn déileáil leis sin agus an t-airgead sin a mhealladh ar ais nó a mhealladh as pócaí an Taoisigh, nó ón Roinn nó ón Aire Airgeadais?

Tá an leathanbhanda luaite cheana ach cad iad na tograí eile atá ag teastáil chun déileáil leis an ráta ard dífhostaíochta sna ceantair? Bheadh na taskforces nó na ceantair pleanála teanga gafa leis sin. Má táimid ag iarraidh daoine a mhealladh ar ais, ní díreach tithe atá ann: tá postanna ag teastáil agus tá roinnt acu luaite ag an bhfinné maidir le Gaeilgeoirí ar ardchaighdeán ach go dtí seo bhí a lán de na postanna sin ag mealladh daoine as na ceantair Ghaeltachta, isteach sa Státseirbhís i mBaile Átha Cliath agus uaireanta téann siad ar ais ach bíonn an clann tógtha acu so ní bhíonn siad ag cur an oiread sin leis an daonra.

Tá sé deacair déileáil leis seo ann féin. Tá roinnt de na figiúirí as dáta cheana féin. Sin mar a bhíonn sé mar tá siad ag teacht ón census, fiú na rátaí dífhostaíochta ach glacaim féin nach bhfuil an fás as cuimse tar éis tarlú agus b'fhéidir go bhfuil siad tar éis titim siar ó thaobh an chéatadáin de. Nuair a fheictear ar roinnt de na ceantair, tá siad ar an taobh mícheart den líne dearg sa tuarascáil i ngach uile ceann de na indices atá ann. Luaigh an Teachta Pearse Doherty é agus luaigh baill eile é ach is iad na cinn ceannann céanna atá ann: Oileán Árann; Tír Chonaill, agus Maigh Eo thuaidh agus tuilleadh áiteanna nach iad. Is féidir dul tríd an liosta ó thaobh siúd atá dífhostaithe, atá bocht, atá leibhéal íseal ardoideachas acu nó ina bhfuil an age profile mícheart ann. Ní leigheasfar é ach cur chuige ceart a bheith ann.

Cuirfidh mé ceist amháin eile mar cuidíonn sé leis an méid atá ráite agam maidir leis an ráite cleithiúnacha nó daoine aosta atá ag brath ar chlanna nó a leithéid sna ceantair ar fad. Baineann an dainséar is mó a fheicim i gceann cúpla bliain, agus tá sé ag tarlú cheana féin ní hamháin i gceantair Gaeltachta ach go háirithe tá sé lom díreach os ár gcomhair, le líon na ndaoine i gceantair iargúlta, gur aonaránaigh cuid acu gan a lán airgid mar nach bhfuil caighdeán mór oideachais acu, a bhfuil dífhostaithe nó ar phinsean agus gan ach fíorbheagán airgid, iad uaigneach agus gan a bheith ag cothú airgid sa cheantar. Daoine iad nach bhfuil aon mór breis airgead acu. Tá na bailte in aice leo ag brath orthu agus toisc nach bhfuil a lán airgid acu, tá na siopaí áitiúla ag dúnadh, tá an séipéal ann má tá siad ag dul ar aifreann agus a leithéid agus tá siad ag fáil báis, mar seo an dream is sine, an dream atá ag brath ar roinnt acu sin atá ag éirí sean iad féin. Tosóidh teip níos mó ar na ceantair, ní díreach ar na teaghlaigh seo, ach ar na ceantair Ghaeltachta sin agus dúnfar na tithe. Seo ceist faoi na ceantair tuaithe i gcoitinne ach tá muidne dírithe ar an nGaeltacht ach go háirithe. Tá géarchéim ann agus is éacht é an tuarascáil seo mar léiríonn sé an géarchéim agus screadann sé amach dúinne mar pholaiteoirí agus don tsochaí i gcoitinne go bhfuil géarchéim ann agus go gcaithfimid obair a dhéanamh go tapa. Fágfaidh mé ansin é.

Caithfidh na baill imeacht anois, ach an rud atá i gceist agam ná go ndéanfaimid tuarascáil gairid impeoimid ar an Dáil plé a dhéanamh ar an tuarascáil seo nó ar cheist na Gaeltachta. Seachas plé amháin, cuirfidh mé ceist ar na baill eile nuair atá an coiste le chéile arís. B'fhéidir go ndéanfaimid díriú isteach ar na Ranna difriúla agus na seirbhísí agus iad ag teacht os ár gcomhair, ní hamháin ar cheist na Gaeilge mar tá coiste eile ag déileáil leis sin, ach cad atá siad ag déanamh ó thaobh tarrtháil na Gaeltachta ionas nach bhfuil an brú ar fad ar an Roinn, a thagann os ár gcomhair go rialta. Tá dualgas ar na dreamanna eile agus seans gur féidir linn fuadar a chur orthu chun déileáil le roinnt de na ceisteanna agus na fadbhanna atá luaite ag na baill eile. An bhfuil aon fhreagraí?

Dr. Breandán Ó Caoimh

I can see that the Chairman's training as a geographer has stood him in good stead. I was a geography lecturer myself so in terms of identifying particular areas, certain areas have been mentioned with greater frequency this afternoon and I concur with the Chairman on that.

He asked about the viability of places. We do not put glass ceilings on communities and we should not do so with the Gaeltacht communities either. The Chairman rightly identified the issue of housing and that is a national issue in terms of the supply issues, property rights and the ownership of houses. I was on Cléire last week because I have a PhD student working on information and communications technology, ICT, and how Gaeltacht communities and island communities use ICT. There are houses there that are habitable but owned by people who live overseas and so on. There is a need to compile a register of those and to look at mechanisms whereby, rather than just carrying out the rural resettlement model, we actually invest those houses in the ownership of local co-operatives, because most of the Gaeltacht areas do have the formal co-operative structures that could take this on board and provide the social housing solutions that are required. As we do that, we should not do so in such a way as happened in parts of the Chairman's constituency where we had a gentrification, some of the local people were displaced and some of the young professionals were brought in. This should be community led. It should involve the community and be part of the community development process and that is very important. It should not be tokenistic either.

There is great potential to use the housing infrastructure and also the other infrastructure that is there. For example, the school on Cléire has nobody below second class and yet there is a classroom with two excellent teachers. The infrastructure is there and we need to avail of same, rather than rehabilitating schools in the suburbs of Dublin as the Department was under pressure to do this year. I will not say it was putting good money after bad because investment in education is always good but we certainly need to be more intelligent about how we use the infrastructure such as houses, schools, roads, ports etc. that are in the Gaeltacht areas.

The Chairman also mentioned that the Government offices and so on should not be taking people out of the Gaeltacht. I do not want to talk about decentralisation but we have to because it is one of the elephants in the room. When we talk about decentralisation we are not just talking about the transfer of Departments because that is not really decentralisation, that is just moving functions geographically. We need real decentralisation where local people have a real say in decision making. As we move Government offices, and there will always be new functions in Government, we should move those to the Gaeltacht areas and to rural areas rather than trying to go through the arduous process that we tried to go through in 2003 and 2004 with the moving of existing services. As new facilities and new offices come up, and they come up all the time, rural areas and Gaeltacht areas should be positively discriminated towards to locate them there and we should work with the trade unions to that end as well.

Aontaím leat.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Tagraím don cheist seo faoi na tithe folamha sa Ghaeltacht agus i gceantair tuaithe go ginearálta. Caithfear drilleáil tríd níos faide. Tá níos mó tochailt á dhéanamh taobh thiar de na staitisticí. Mar a luaigh an Dr. Ó Caoimh, tá cúinsí éagsúla a bhaineann le gach aon teach ansin. B'fhéidir go mbeidh cuid acu fágtha ag na tuismitheoirí ansin agus b'fhéidir nach dtagann daoine thart ach uair amháin sa samhradh ar feadh coicís nó b'fhéidir uair chuile mhí ach beidh an clann ag iarraidh go mbeidh an teach fágtha ansin le húsáid ag daoine ón gclann a thagann thart ó na ceantair uirbeacha. Tá sé sin ann freisin agus bíonn drogall ar dhaoine cé go mbeidh teach fágtha agus ráite sa daonáireamh mar shampla go bhfuil an teach folamh. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil sé folamh i ndáiríre agus go dtagann daoine ann. Is athrú meoin a theastódh ansin, fiú dá mbeadh an straitéis seo pobalbhunaithe. Mar a dúirt an Dr. Ó Caoimh, caithfear úsáid a bhaint as na comharchumainn le haghaidh rud mar sin a eagrú. Bheadh athrú meoin ag teastáil i measc an phobail. Tá daoine a thagann abhaile chuig Conamara ar feadh coicís sa samhradh agus beidh siad ag iarraidh go mbeidh an teach fágtha ansin dóibh nuair a thagann siad abhaile. Tá sé an-deacair teach mar sin a ligeadh do chlann má chaithfidh siad imeacht sa samhradh.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Tá na cúinsí áitiúla agus caithfear meoin a athrú.

Dúirt sé nach tithe samhradh iad ach tuigim cad atá i gceist.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Yes, but tá tithe eile agus tá a lán daoine i gceantair Ghaeltachta agus tá cónaí orthu i mBaile Átha Cliath agus tá teach acu agus tagann siad abhaile ag an deireadh seachtaine nó uair amháin sa mhí or whatever. Tá sé sin ann so níl sé chomh simplí agus a rá go bhfuil na tithe sin folamh. Caithfear tochailt níos mó a dhéanamh.

Níl i mBaile Átha Cliath ach an oiread.

Dr. Aodhán Mac Cormaic

Tagraím don cheist a luaigh an Cathaoirleach faoi na tascfhórsaí. Tá tascfhórsa ag feidhmiú anois i gceantar Carna. Chuir an t-údarás ceann ar bun ansin, tá ceann in Uíbh Ráthach agus tá ceann i gContae na Mí ach níl a fhios agam an bhfuil an obair críochnaithe go fóill. Tá obair na dtascfhórsaí sin an-tábhachtach. Chonaic muid na tascfhórsaí nuair a d'imigh cúpla cheann de na comhlachtaí móra thuas i bPáirc Ghnó Gaoth Dobhair agus chuir an t-údarás tascfhórsa isteach ansin roinnt blianta ó shin agus nuair a théitear suas ansin anois tá an beocht tagtha ar ais go dtí an eastát mar bhí sé dírithe ar cheist amháin. Obair an-mhaith a dhéanann na tascfhórsaí seo.

Tá ceisteanna a bhaineann leis an saol eacnamaíoch agus an saol sóisialta luaite sna pleananna teanga atá ag teacht tríd anois. Cloisim tráchtairí ag rá go bhfuil an obair seo uilig fágtha ag na pobail. Níl an obair seo fágtha ag na pobail agus ní cheart go mbeadh. Ba cheart go mbeadh ní hamháin muidne sa Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta agus an t-údarás ag tacú leo le haghaidh a chuid maoiniú, a chuid gníomhaíochtaí agus a chuid spriocanna a chur i bhfeidhm ach go mbeadh na heagraíochtaí Stáit eile, ar nós an HSE agus Córas Iompar Éireann, ag tacú go bunúsach le cur i bhfeidhm na pleananna teanga. Má fheiceann muidne sa Roinn nó san údarás go lúb ar lár ansin nach bhfuil an Státchóras ag tacú le cur i bhfeidhm na bpleananna teanga seo, ba cheart go mbeadh muidne ag tarraingt aird ar na ceisteanna sin. Tá ról an-láidir ag an Stát i gcur i bhfeidhm na pleananna teanga agus tá an Bille teanga nua bainteach leis sin freisin. Bhíomar ag caint faoi seo cúpla seachtain ó shin ag cruinniú leis an gCathaoirleach. Beidh ionchur ansin agus beidh tionchar láidir ag an mBille teanga sin má oibríonn sé. Is Bille a bheidh tionchar fadtéarmach aige ar chúrsaí Gaeilge agus ar chúrsaí seirbhísí Ghaeltachta freisin. Má fheidhmíonn an coincheap sin atá istigh sa Bhille sin, ba cheart go dtacódh sé sin leis an gcóras pleanála teanga freisin.

Luaigh an Cathaoirleach cúrsaí fiontraíochta agus fostaíochta an údaráis. Tá na buiséid ag méadú. An sprioc a bhí luaite ag an údarás linne le roinnt blianta ná go mbeadh thart ar €12 milliún in aghaidh na bliana an cineál optimum a bhí aige leis an leibhéal foirne atá aige agus an obair atá sé in ann a dhéanamh. Tá an t-ádh linn go rabhamar in ann úsáid a bhaint as an airgead atá ag an Roinn Forbartha Tuaithe i mbliana freisin agus tá sé sin suas ag €15 milliún. Tá sé sin ag tabhairt tacaíocht breise do na ceantair Ghaeltachta. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil an t-údarás ag díriú anois ar chuid mhór den airgead den bhunmhaoiniú a fhaigheann ón Roinn s'againne a chur i dtreo athnuachan a dhéanamh ar an bpunann maoinithe nó na foirgnimh atá aige, ionas go mbeidh siad feiliúnach agus ar fáil le haghaigh tionscadail a thagann go dtí an údarás because ceann de na dúshláin a bhí aige le cúpla bliain anuas was bhí comhlachtaí ag teacht chuige ach ní raibh foirgnimh feiliúnacha aige le tabhairt do na comhlachtaí sin. Mar sin, tá an t-údarás ag iarraidh infheistíocht a dhéanamh agus athnuachan a dhéanamh ar na foirgnimh seo ionas go mbeidh níos mó spás aige le tairiscint do chomhlachtaí atá ag iarraidh lonnú sa Ghaeltacht agus tá sé sin tosaithe anois. Tá sé tábhachtach é sin a rá because b'fhéidir nach bhfeicfimid toradh na hoibre sin i mbliana nó an bhliain seo chugainn go dtí go mbeidh an obair sin déanta agus na foirgnimh sin curtha amach ar an margadh náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Is ansin a fheicfimid an toradh.

Níl mé chun ceisteanna eile a chur. B'fhéidir go mbeidh mé in ann iad a chur amach anseo. Gabhaim buíochas leis na finnéithe atá fágtha, ach go háirithe don Seanadóir Ó Céidigh a bhí anseo níos luaithe, don Uasal Gleeson, don Dr. Ó Caoimh agus don Dr. Mac Cormaic as ucht a bheith anseo inniu. Bhí seisiún maith againn ag cíoradh na gceisteanna atá ríthábhachtach maidir leis an nGaeltacht. Má táimid ag déanamh cíoradh arís, tá súil agam go mbeidh dul chun cinn déanta sna ceantair seo. Leis sin ráite, molaim go leanaimid ar aghaidh anois i seisiún príobháideach.

The committee adjourned at 3.48 p.m. until 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 April 2019.