Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (592)

Shane Cassells


592. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for the development and protection of the Ráth Chairn Gaeltacht in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46397/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

As the Deputy may be aware, the Gaeltacht Act 2012 gives statutory effect to the language planning process under which language plans may be prepared at community level in areas to be recognised under the Act as Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns or Irish Language Networks.

The language plan in respect of Ráth Chairn and Baile Ghib was submitted to my Department in July 2018 and approved in October 2018. In line with the overall support arrangements in place under the overall stewardship of my Department a Language Planning Officer has since been appointed to implement this plan at community level. Annual funding of up to €100,000 is being made available in support of this.

Insofar as all Gaeltacht areas are concerned, including Gaeltacht na Mí, the Deputy should also be aware that both my Department and Údarás na Gaeltachta administer a wide range of schemes, initiatives and programmes through which financial support is provided to assist in the implementation, at Gaeltacht community level, of practical actions, interventions, initiatives and projects which have as their core objective the maintenance and development of Irish as the community language of the Gaeltacht as well as promoting enterprise and employment opportunities within Gaeltacht regions.  

In order to further underpin in particular the work of Údarás na Gaeltachta in relation to the Gaeltacht region of Ráth Chairn and Baile Bhib the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta approved the setting up of the Enterprise Forum 2017 in order to research and assess the development and employment opportunities of the area.

The aim of this enterprise action group is to place a new focus on a framework to build and develop Ráth Chairn and Baile Ghib, which are in close proximity to Dublin, as a competitive and successful region for job creation.

The aims include:

- Researching the resources and opportunities that exist in the area by engaging with local entrepreneurs, community groups, language groups and other relevant parties;

- Assessing the results of the research and preparing recommendations for job creation in this Gaeltacht region;

- Preparing a 3 year strategy for the Ráth Chairn and Baile Ghib Gaeltacht with a recommended budget to implement its objectives. 

This coordinated approach encompasses collaboration with relevant stakeholders - including Meath County Council, SOLAS, Louth and Meath Education and Training Board, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Maynooth University, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht - along with business and community representatives.

The  report of the Enterprise  Forum group is currently being finalised and it is anticipated that it will be published in the coming weeks.