My Department is now at an advanced stage in its first phase of procuring new employment services. This phase involves the procurement of regional employment services for seven counties in the Midlands and North-West across four lots. Procurement for the second phase, while will roll out services across the State, will commence shortly.
All services provided on behalf of the Department of Social protection are required to provide access to services through the Irish language in accordance with the Official Languages Act 2003 and the Department's own Irish Language Scheme (2019-2022).
This will remain the case for procured employment services in 2021 and 2022.
Tenderers for the Regional Employment Services lots, in particular, are required to demonstrate how the will add social value, specifically through improving the social and economic well-being of the specific area. This includes Gaeltacht areas, where relevant.
The expansion of employment services will see coverage for the first time in several key Gaeltacht areas including Donegal and County Galway outside of Galway City.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.