Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Questions (285, 287, 288)

Mick Barry

Question:

285. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if she has considered the concerns raised by Conradh na Gaeilge concerning the Foras na Gaeilge budget for 2017 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33584/16]

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Kate O'Connell

Question:

287. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if she will increase the budget of Foras na Gaeilge in line with the investment plan submitted to her by 80 Irish language groups, which would provide opportunities to local Irish language groups in Dublin Bay South and in other constituencies to implement language plans and develop Irish language hubs in their areas. [33636/16]

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Kate O'Connell

Question:

288. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs her views on the fact that, if the Foras na Gaeilge budget, which has been reduced by nearly 30% since 2008, is not increased, local Irish language groups in areas such as Dublin Bay South will not be able to access supports to develop the Irish language in their areas and to attain the new status arising from the Gaeltacht Act of an Irish language network. [33637/16]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 285, 287 and 288 together.

As I indicated in my response to Question No. 377 on 25 October 2016, the budget for Foras na Gaeilge is subject to approval by the North South Ministerial Council, given its status as an agency of An Foras Teanga, which is a North South Implementation Body co-funded by my Department and the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.

An indicative provision of €13.239m has been provided within my Department’s Vote for An Foras Teanga in 2017. In regard to funding for specific programmes of work, the dispersal of the budget will be an operational matter for Foras na Gaeilge, within the framework of the NSMC-approved business plan and budget.

The investment plan submitted by Conradh na Gaeilge on behalf of Irish language and Gaeltacht groups is very ambitious in seeking additional funding in the region of €5m in 2017 and €30m over the period. In that context, I should say that almost €60m has been provided in the 2017 Estimates for my Department’s Irish language, Gaeltacht and Islands programme, including funding for An Foras Teanga. This represents an increase of €2.3m over the 2016 provision. However, the Deputies can rest assured that I will continue, insofar as I can, to seek additional funding for the Irish language, within the overall budgetary resources available to the Government.