Priority Questions

Arts Plan

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

1. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the actions he has taken to enhance inter-departmental co-operation in the arts; the way he has sought to engage more young persons in the arts; if he has discussed with the Department of Education and Skills the possibility of integrating the arts further into the primary and secondary school curriculums; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18130/14]

This question is straightforward as it seeks to establish from the Minister what is being done to target the audience of between 800,000 and 1 million young people and encourage them to have a greater interest and focus on the arts. In particular, what is being done by the Department to engage with the Department of Education and Skills to encourage more formal activation by the Department in its curriculum development both at primary and post-primary levels?

In January 2013, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, and I jointly launched the arts in education charter. This charter places new responsibilities on Departments, agencies, cultural institutions and arts organisations to provide and promote arts education to children and young people. The charter will facilitate organisations like the Arts Council, the national cultural institutions, the colleges of education and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment working with both Departments in order to bring the arts into the classroom and learners into the institutes for the arts.

A high-level implementation group, chaired by Professor John Coolahan, professor emeritus at NUI Maynooth, was established to oversee the implementation of the arts in education charter. Its membership includes the director of the Arts Council, a representative of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick and senior officials from my Department and the Department of Education and Skills. The group has been meeting regularly and has been proactive in meeting organisations from both the arts and education sectors. It presented its first formal report to the Minister, Deputy Quinn, and me on 3 September 2013 and its second on 9 April 2014.

Progress is being made on a number of initiatives, including engagement with the wider education agenda through participation in key events and conferences; ongoing dialogue with the national cultural institutions, and particularly with the education, community and outreach grouping; engagement on the development of collaborative partnerships between strategic groups such as the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Arts Council; gathering of information on research that has been undertaken with a relevance to arts education and arts in education; development of a website as a key communications and information channel for both the education and arts sectors; development of proposals for an arts-rich schools scheme to raise interest among school communities in cultivating the arts as a desired feature of school life and for artists to become involved in the programme; and consideration of the best means of providing updated information and guidance on arts-in-education activities. My Department, together with the Department of Education and Skills, plans to hold a joint symposium next month to further contribute to and enhance the engagement and working relationships between the higher education and the arts sectors.

I thank the Minister as his response is very positive. I am glad he is taking that proactive approach and we all accept that increasing the level of interest in the arts among young people in general but specifically in schools is of enormous importance. We know from visits to primary schools the significant amount of work being done by teachers there, with visible evidence of an interest in the arts and its activities. There is possibly less evidence of that in some post-primary schools, and the appointment of somebody of the stature of Professor Coolahan is most welcome, as he brings a reputation in the education area that will enhance the sort of endeavour outlined by the Minister. The Minister should be commended but the area needs further energy and some further expenditure.

I acknowledge the Deputy's comments about Professor Coolahan, who accepted the position of chair of the implementation group on condition that this initiative would be taken very seriously and not just another publication. He wants the recommendations in the charter to be implemented and I am very pleased with the outcomes to date. The web portal to be set up will be very important, and according to Professor Coolahan this could be something of major international significance. I acknowledge the work of the implementation group for the charter on arts in education, as well as the work of the Minister for Education and Skills, who has appointed Dr. Brigid Sweeney, who has a background in arts and education, to co-ordinate the response in his Department. The Minister, Deputy Quinn, is very enthusiastic about this aspect.

There is a very strong case to be made for promoting arts in education in the broader community from the perspective of developing more creative thinkers among young people and helping them to become better at problem solving. There is a direct connection between the arts and these issues.

Is the Minister prepared to move to formalise the advisory role of the Arts Council to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment? Is he prepared to establish an advisory role for the national cultural institutions so their expertise can feed into the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment? These matters must be undertaken with the Minister for Education and Skills. It is very important that we consider building on co-operation from the arts charter, set up as a dedicated national arts and education development unit. That would bear real fruit.

Is the Minister prepared to cost and consider the implementation of the recommendations of the 1979 Arts Council review to increase music provision in primary schools? There is very often great disappointment felt by parents that music is not a far more prominent part of the local curriculum at primary level. The idea of providing temporary teachers to provide such a service could be advanced.

Deputy Ó Fearghaíl made a number of suggestions which I will certainly take on board and have discussed by the implementation group to see if they can fit into its remit. Great progress is being made promoting music in schools. In many cases, it is done by outside agencies and I would like to recognise the work of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, for example, which has a very proactive and successful programme in schools. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann has a programme in my local school and all the pupils from second class to sixth class learn how to master instruments, and by sixth class, some of them can master five instruments. That is just an example of how one organisation is having a profound impact on schools. In many counties, there are county schools of music, which are also very effective. There is also what is contained in the education curriculum. Much is happening in regard to music but I agree with the Deputy that it is to be hoped more will happen in future.

National Monuments

Sandra McLellan

Ceist:

2. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide an update on the development of the national monument on Moore Street. [18129/14]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

3. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in view of the fact that a survey by three structural engineers concluded that 18 Moore Street is pre-1916, if he will commit to seeking independent expert advice on the status of the structure of 18 Moore Street and all 1916 buildings in the GPO-Moore Street area, described as the most important site in modern Irish history by the National Museum of Ireland. [18132/14]

Given that Moore Street is the most important historic site in modern Irish history, will the Minister give us an update on the development of Moore Street?

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 3 together.

As the Deputies are aware, 14 to 17 Moore Street are the subject of a preservation order under section 8 of the National Monuments Act 1930. The preservation order was made on the grounds that the protection of 16 Moore Street is of national importance by reason of its historical significance as the site of the final council of war and final headquarters of the leaders of the 1916 Rising. To achieve that objective, the order also covers 14, 15 and 17 Moore Street and includes the yards to the rear of 15 and 16, extending to 8 and 9 Moore Lane.

In July 2013, I made a determination under the National Monuments Acts on the consent application and related environmental impact statement submitted by the owners in regard to their proposals for the national monument at 14 to 17 Moore Street. My decision provided, inter alia, for the full repair and restoration of the monument buildings and the creation of a commemorative centre to honour the leaders of the 1916 Rising.

The national monument is in private ownership and, accordingly, the advancement of proposals that reflect the terms of the consent I have granted is a matter for the owners. The consent was, however, conditional on a revised project design that took full account of the terms of my decision being submitted within nine months to verify their compliance with the consent order. The final design proposals for the approved works have been received by my Department. They are being assessed and I will complete my examination as quickly as possible.

The position regarding the area outside the bounds of the preservation order, including 18 Moore Street, is set out in the planning permissions granted by Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála. My function, as Minister, in regard to 18 Moore Street is to ensure any works to that building do not adversely impact on the adjacent national monument.

I know the Minister will agree that there is a need to protect and develop the Moore Street national monument. That is a given. As I said, Moore Street is an area acknowledged as the most important modern historic site in Ireland. Unfortunately, the Government has taken a light approach to the development of Moore Street. The Government's proposals to turn 14 to 17 Moore Street into an interpretative centre are welcome but are totally inadequate and fail to match the reality that this is the most important historic site in modern Irish history. The rest of the terrace is to be demolished and the lanes surrounding Moore Street are to be bulldozed and covered by a mall.

We have sent the Minister a report on 18 Moore Street and I gather he has read it. Does he agree with its conclusion that the building should be fully surveyed and recorded in detail? Does the Minister agree no building should be demolished until his Department agrees to have a full report on 18 Moore Street compiled and made public? Does he have verified evidence contrary to that report?

As I have explained several times in this House, planning permission has been granted by Dublin City Council, which includes members of the Deputy's party, and An Bord Pleanála for the Moore Street development. I am responsible for 14 to 17 Moore Street, the national monument. I have been quite clear about this. Planning permission has been granted on the rest of that site. Neither the Government nor I have any involvement in the planning permission that has been granted.

Not too long ago, planning permission was granted to demolish all of Moore Street. I agree with the Deputy that Moore Street is of major significance, but the fact is that planning permission has been granted on it, except for 14 to 17 Moore Street, which is my responsibility. I received the report and I thank the Deputy for sending it to me. I am sure that is the report to which Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan referred in her question.

I accept the Minister has responsibility for 14 to 17 Moore Street, but if there is evidence that some of the other fixtures predate 1916, that would be his responsibility. In another state, these laneways of history would be preserved and would be a vital place of remembrance. The entire Moore Street battlefield site should be developed and protected as a national monument. This would be a fitting centrepiece for the centenary and an economic boost to the north inner city as well as a prestigious international education and tourist facility.

The Oireachtas group, of which Deputy O'Sullivan is a member, and the Moore Street relatives of 1916 have sought a meeting with the Minister on this matter. The Minister had agreed to meet following the submission of the new plans from Chartered Land. They have now been submitted so I ask the Minister to consider meeting us without delay. Could he give us a date for the meeting today?

I have met every request for meetings since I took on this position. I have no problem meeting groups. I have met members of the families who are for and who are opposed to the proposed development on the historic monument. I have also met members of the Oireachtas group. I have had many discussions.

I have no issue at all meeting Deputy McLellan's group and I have set time aside next Thursday when I hope to be able to meet a number of the groups. I have received the report, to which the Deputy referred, but I repeat that my responsibility is for 14 to 17 Moore Street. If anything is proposed that would affect 14 to 17 Moore Street, I have a responsibility to ensure it does not impact on the national monument site. The report itself is quite interesting and I have noted it.

I still find it really bizarre that the site of Moore Street and the area from the GPO, which was described by the National Museum of Ireland as the most important site in modern Irish history, should be in private ownership and in the hands of a developer who is in NAMA and owes billions of euro to the State and that the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Oireachtas can do nothing about it. The Minister talked about planning permission and An Bord Pleanála. That was given under a flawed premise because no independent assessment and survey was done of that whole site. The relatives eventually gained access to 18 Moore Street - the Minister knows how difficult that was and only for his intervention, they probably would not have been able to do so - and discovered that it is pre-1916. What else may be discovered if there is an independent assessment of that whole battlefield site?

We will be there next Sunday to commemorate the Easter Rising and, in two years' time, there will be a massive commemoration because of the centenary. Imagine what it will be like walking from the new museum in the GPO along a whole area still derelict into Moore Street where four buildings will be in some way preserved while the rest of place will be demolished.

It goes back to the decision by Dublin City Council - of which Deputy O'Sullivan may have been a member at the time-----

I was not a member at that time.

I am sure she knew people who were on the council. They made that decision at the time which was upheld by An Bord Pleanála. That is the current legal position. I have responsibility for 14 to 17 Moore Street on which I have made a determination. I rejected the full proposal last June. I asked the developers to come up with a new proposal in order to meet the conditions I had set. They have come up with that proposal. I have not seen the proposal yet but my officials have considered it. I hope to look at the proposal today or early next week on Tuesday. As I promised, I am meeting with the various interest groups in this development in order to discuss the proposal.

I reiterate that I am in complete agreement with the Deputy about the importance of the site but legal planning permission has been granted by Dublin City Council and by An Bord Pleanála. I do not disagree with the Deputy. It could be a great historical development but I am legally prohibited from doing anything about it.

I return to the point that we still do not know the significance of the remaining buildings in the area and therefore there is a vital need to have an independent assessment done as quickly as possible on that whole battlefield site. I do not think anyone in the House would disagree if the Minister with responsibility for arts and heritage were more proactive on this matter. I accept his point about An Bord Pleanála but I maintain it made a decision on a flawed report. I know the relatives are keen to meet the Taoiseach, and whoever is Taoiseach of the day when the commemoration is held will be only delighted to be seen with the relatives. However, now is the time to get this right. There is also a need to consider having a public consultation to find out the views of members of the public about the area and the preservation of what was the battlefield site. Will there be an independent assessment?

So far as I am aware there was an assessment of the buildings. I refer to the report which Deputy O'Sullivan sent me which shows that No. 18 has been substantially altered and rebuilt in the years since 1916. I am aware of documentary evidence in valuation records from 1911 to 1915 and 1915 to 1925 in Thom's Directory which show that this building was in ruins prior to the 1916 Rising. The opening up of plaster work has revealed concrete block party walls confirming the post-1916 date. The report commissioned by the relatives notes that none of the windows or the shop-front are original, as is none of the brickwork over the first floor windows or the chimney. The report indicates that the building was reduced from three to two storeys between 1930 and 1950, meaning that the roof is also new. The report also notes that none of the original features in the interior survive, such as stairs, cornices, doors or partition walls. The report highlights that some fabric of the lower part of the front facade may predate 1916 but the clear evidence is that the structure, shape, layout, fittings, finishes, that now exist in No. 18, were not there in 1916. The report to which I refer is the report submitted by Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan.

What is found in No. 18 is in stark contrast to Nos. 14 to 17, where all four houses retain significant 18th century elements, including staircases, internal walls, doors, partitions, floors, fittings and plaster work. More important, the 18th century building, form and profiles, also survive. I reiterate that this is the report on No. 18 which the Deputy submitted to me.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla

Michael P. Kitt

Ceist:

4. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Michael P. Kitt den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cad é an dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir le hAcht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, ceannteidil an Bhille a fhoilsiú, neamhspleáchas Oifig an Choimisinéara a chosaint; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [18131/14]

Tá deireadh curtha leis an bplean Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga a chónascadh le hOifig an Ombudsman agus cuirim fáilte roimh an gcinneadh sin. Is cinneadh praiticiúil é seo a chosnaíonn neamhspleáchas Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. Céard atá i ndán anois d'Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga agus cén stádas a bheidh ag an oifig amach anseo?

I gcomhréir leis an ghealltanas atá tugtha i gclár an Rialtais, tá athbhreithniú déanta ag mo Roinn ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Ba í aidhm an athbhreithnithe a chinntiú go mbainfear an leas is fearr as caiteachas ar an nGaeilge chun an teanga a fhorbairt agus go bhforchuirtear dualgas go cuí de réir éilimh ó shaoránaigh.

Ag eascairt as an athbhreithniú, thóg an Rialtas cinneadh ar 1 Aibreán 2014 Bille a dhréachtú chun leasuithe a dhéanamh ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Is í an phríomhaidhm a bheidh ag Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2014 ná an tAcht a leasú chun a chinntiú go leanfaidh sé de bheith ina thacaíocht éifeachtach do gach duine ar mian leis nó léi seirbhísí d’ardchaighdeán i nGaeilge a fháil ón Stát.

I gcomhréir le polasaí an Rialtais, tá ceannteidil an Bhille curtha faoi bhráid an Chomhchoiste um Chomhshaol, Chultúr agus an Ghaeltacht. Chomh maith leis sin, tá na ceannteidil foilsithe ar shuíomh gréasáin mo Roinne, www.ahg.gov.ie, in éineacht leis an tuairisc ar an athbhreithniú agus na haighneachtaí a fuarthas uathu siúd a chuir in iúl go raibh siad sásta go bhfoilseofaí iad. I gcomhthéacs an athbhreithnithe, tá cinneadh tógtha ag an Rialtas gan Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga a chónascadh le hOifig an Ombudsman.

Is maith an rud é go bhfuil neamhspleáchas Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga bainte amach againn agus níl a fhios ag aon duine cén fáth gur fhógair an Rialtas go mbeadh cónascadh ann ar an gcéad dul síos. An gceapann an tAire Stáit go bhfuil seans anois, le leasú an Achta, go mbeidh cearta teanga níos láidre ar fáil do lucht labhartha na Gaeilge? Tá sé an-tábhachtach, sa Ghaeltacht agus taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht go gcuirtear an plean sin i gcrích. Tá daoine ag gearán faoi sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge agus is maith an rud é go bhfuil suim ag daoine sa scéal. Cad iad na céimeanna praiticiúla atá á nglacadh chun na seirbhísí a chur ar fáil?

Fáiltím roimh an mhéid a bhí le rá ag an Teachta. Ar ndóigh, ó tharla gur seo an chéad uair gur luadh sa Dáil é, ba mhaith liom féin gach rath a ghuí ar an choimisinéir úr atá i mbun oifige. Tá sé lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht agus beidh sé neamhspleách. Is féidir liom a rá chomh maith go bhfuil athstruchtúrú á dhéanamh ar Oifig an Choimisinéara agus is cinnte go ndéanfaidh sé sin a chuid oibre níos fusa agus, tá súil agam, níos éifeachtaí. Inniu féin, sílim go bhfuil tuairisc an Choimisinéara Teanga ag teacht amach maidir le 2013. Tá an tuarascáil foilsithe agus is dóigh go gcloisfimid níos mó faoi sin i rith an lae.

Ceann de na dúshláin mhóra atá againn ná seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil do mhuintir na Gaeltachta agus do dhaoine a éilíonn seirbhísí mar sin. Is dúshlán mór é sin agus chuir na haighneachtaí a tháinig isteach maidir le hathbhreithniú ar an Acht é sin in iúl dúinn. Mar sin, tá roinnt céimeanna á nglacadh. Ar dtús, tá sé glactha ag an Rialtas agus ag an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí anois go mbeidh cuóta nó painéal speisialta ann de dhaoine a bhfuil ardchumas Gaeilge acu aon uair a bheidh earcaíocht á déanamh d'oifigigh don Státseirbhís. Chomh maith leis sin, tá scrúdú á dhéanamh sna Ranna go léir le fáil amach cén áit a bhfuil gá le daoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu. Mar sin, tá céimeanna cinnte á nglacadh i láthair na huaire chun tabhairt faoin fhadhb seo. Aithním go bhfuil fadhb ann, ach táim ag tabhairt faoi í a réiteach.

An bhfuil aon rud le rá ag an Aire Stáit faoi mholtaí an Choimisinéara Teanga, bunaithe ar na deich mbliana a chaith sé mar choimisinéir? Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le Seán Ó Cuirreáin agus fáilte a chur roimh an gcoimisinéir nua. An mbeidh na moltaí seo á chur i bhfeidhm ag an Rialtas?

Tá a lán ceisteanna le freagairt faoi ghnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge. Mar is eol don Aire Stáit, bhí máirseáil maidir le seo i mBaile Átha Cliath, ceann eile i nGaillimh agus ceann eile i mBéal Feirste, ag iarraidh chothrom na féinne a fháil do dhaoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu. Ag na máirseálacha sin, labhair daoine faoi ghlaonna teileafóin nó e-mails chuig na Ranna éagsúla agus dúirt siad nach raibh siad in ann a ngnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge.

Tá mothúchán láidir ann mar go gceapann daoine go bhfuil an Ghaeilge faoi ionsaí. Ba cheart moltaí an choimisinéara a chur i bhfeidhm. An bhfuil aon fhreagra ag an Aire Stáit maidir leis na moltaí sin?

D'éist mé leis an méid a bhí le rá ag an gcoimisinéir nuair a d'fhreastail sé ar an chomhchoiste. Mar a dúirt mé, tá céimeanna dearfacha á nglacadh i láthair na huaire ag an leibhéal earcaíochta. Bhí scéim bhónais againn go dtí seo, le 40 bliain anuas, ach tá sé soiléir nár éirigh leis an scéim sin daoine leis an soláthar agus leis an gcaighdeán Gaeilge cheart a chur ar fáil sna Ranna Stáit. Nílim ag rá nach bhfuil neart daoine le Gaeilge sa chóras phoiblí agus sa Státsheirbhís, ach go minic ní bhíonn siad ag déileáil go díreach leis an bpobal. Tá scrúdú á dhéanamh ar sin i láthair na huaire.

Freisin, ag an leibhéal earcaíochta, tá tosú á dhéanamh ansin aitheantas a thabhairt nó painéil speisialta a chur ar bun de dhaoine a bhfuil cumas Gaeilge acu. Tá sé ar intinn chomh maith, faoi fhorálacha an leasaithe don Acht go mbeidh seirbhísí eile trí Ghaeilge curtha ar fáil, ar nós seirbhísí aistriúcháin. Beidh deasc ann freisin ionas gur féidir le daoine a éilíonn seirbhís trí Ghaeilge teagmháil a dhéanamh agus go mbeidh an tseirbhís sin ar fáil. Tabharfar roinnt céimeanna mar sin chun cinn agus chun críche nuair a bheidh an Bille achtaithe.

Cruthú Fostaíochta

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

5. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht cén sprioc cruthaithe fostaíochta atá ag Údarás na Gaeltachta do 2014 agus cé mhéad post a chruthaigh siad sa chéad cheathrú. [18229/14]

Tá rudaí uafásach deacair ag an mbomaite seo sa Ghaeltacht mar gheall ar chúrsaí eacnamaíochta agus fostaíochta. Mar is eol don Aire Stáit, cailleadh 140 post i nGaoth Dobhair i nDún na nGall cúpla seachtain ó shin. Thart timpeall na nGaeltachtaí ar fad, tá géarchéim fostaíochta anois. Ní thugann na meáin mórán airde ar chomhlachtaí Gaeltachta ag an mbomaite seo agus táim ag iarraidh go dtabharfaidh an Rialtas níos mó airde do chúrsaí fostaíochta sna Gaeltachtaí.

Tuigim ó Údarás na Gaeltachta gurb é an sprioc fostaíochta atá ag an eagraíocht do 2014 ná 520 post nua a chruthú. Tuigim ón údarás fosta go bhfuil siad sásta tar éis na chéad ráithe go mbainfear an sprioc fostaíochta sin amach. Ós rud é go ndéanann an t-údarás suirbhé fostaíochta ar bhonn bliantúil, níl an líon post a cruthaíodh sa chéad ráithe den bhliain ar fáil go fóill. Foilsíonn Údarás na Gaeltachta a chuid figiúirí fostaíochta i dtús na bliana nua, figiúirí a dheimhnítear ina thuarascáil bhliantúil.

Ar deireadh, is fiú a rá gur cruthaíodh 616 post nua in 2013 i gcliantchuideachtaí de chuid an údaráis sa Ghaeltacht. Ag deireadh na bliana sin, bhí 7,650 post i gcliantchuideachtaí de chuid an údaráis, lena n-áirítear 6,970 post lánaimseartha agus 680 post páirtaimseartha.

Tá a fhios againn ar fad go gcailltear poist chomh maith. Bhí líon na bpost a chailleadh le linn 2013 níos ísle ná le blianta fada.

Tá fadhbanna ollmhóra ann agus tá ganntanas post ar an talamh. Ó na figiúirí ar tugadh dúinn, níor chruthaíodh ach 96 post úr san iomlán sna Gaeltachtaí an bhliain seo caite. Tá sin dochreidte nuair a smaoiníonn muid go bhfuil muid i lár na géarchéime eacnamaíochta is measa ar feadh glúine.

Ní féidir an milleán iomlán a chur ar an údarás faoi seo. Níl an t-infreastruchtúr sna Gaeltachtaí, níl na bóithre ann, níl an leathanbhanda ann. Tá easpa foirgneamh ann le haghaidh comhlachtaí nua agus níl an t-airgead ann. Tá buiséad an údaráis tar éis titim 68% ó 2008 go dtí 2012 agus tá sé fós ag titim faoi cheannaireacht an Aire Stáit. Léiríonn sin an easpa airde agus tábhachta atá ag an Rialtas ar chúrsaí eacnamaíochta sa Ghaeltacht ag an mbomaite seo.

Ba mhaith liom freagra a thabhairt ar sin. Uimhir a haon, d'éirigh linn an deontas caipitil, is é sin an deontas a úsáidtear chun fostaíochta a chruthú sna Gaeltachtaí, a choinneáil ag timpeall €6 mhilliún le ceithre bliana anuas. Is fíor, mar a dúirt an Teachta, gur tháinig titim mhór ar bhuiséad chaipitil Údarás na Gaeltachta. Sa bhliain 2008, bhí buiséad de €26 milliún ann. Sa bhliain 2009, bhí sé anuas go dtí €16 mhilliún. Sa bhliain 2010, bhí sé anuas go dtí €10 milliún agus sa bhliain 2011, nuair a tháinig mise isteach san oifig seo, bhí sé ag €6 mhilliún agus d'éirigh linn é sin a choinneáil.

Sin ráite, caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil mé thar a bheith sásta go bhfuil obair an-éifeachtach ar siúl ag an údarás leis na hacmhainní teoranta atá acu. Tá 616 post cruthaithe acu agus cruthaíodh níos mó post ná mar a chailleadh. Is dul chun cinn mór é sin. Rinne an Teachta tagairt don mhonarcha i mo cheantar féin - Largo Foods. Tá sé fíor go bhfuil muid ag cailleadh 140 post i gceantar Gaeltachta. Dála an scéil, tá poist á dtairiscint do 70 de na daoine sin, teacht agus obair i gCill Dhéagláin i gContae na Mí. B'fhearr liom dá mbeadh na poist sin sa Ghaeltacht, ach beidh post ansin ag duine ar bith de na daoine sin atá ag iarraidh é a ghlacadh.

Tá grúpa oibre curtha ar bun ag Údarás na Gaeltachta, Enterprise Ireland, an IDA, SOLAS, an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí, Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall atá ar bun le coicís anois agus tá súil agam go mbeidh sé in ann díriú isteach ar an easnamh a fágadh nuair a chailleadh na poist sin i mo cheantar féin. Ar an iomlán, sílim go bhfuil an t-údarás ag déanamh a dhíchill. Blianta ó shin, bhíomar ag cailleadh níos mó post ná mar a bhíomar ag cruthú ach, ar a laghad anuraidh, chruthaíodh níos mó post ná mar a chailleadh.

Tá an ceart ag an Aire Stáit. Scrios Fianna Fáil an buiséad agus níl dabht ar bith faoi sin, ach tá an Rialtas ag glacadh leis an baton go huile agus go hiomlán agus ag déanamh an ruda céanna.

An bhfuil a fhios ag an Aire Stáit cé mhéad duine atá dífhostaithe sa Ghaeltacht? Cé mhéad duine atá tar éis dul ar imirce ón Ghaeltacht ó tá an tAire Stáit ina Aire Stáit? Ba cheart go mbeadh an t-eolas tábhachtach sin ar fáil dúinn go léir. Cad atá á dhéanamh ag an Rialtas maidir le rátaí gnó? Cén tionchar atá in úsáid ag an Aire Stáit ag an gCaibinéad chun rátaí gnó a ísliú nó a riar? Cad atá á dhéanamh maidir le costais breosla, costais arda atá ag cur isteach ar chomhlachtaí Gaeltachta thart timpeall na tíre? Cad atá á dhéanamh chun saol chomhlachtaí Gaeltachta a dhéanamh níos éasca.

Ba mhaith liom rud beag a rá i dtaobh na ndaoine atá ag teacht go Cill Dhéagláin. Is rud uafásach é gur chaill siad a bpoist i nGaoth Dobhair. Beidh na daoine seo ag teacht go Contae na Mí i gceann míosa nó dhó. An bhfuil an tAire Stáit sásta oibriú leis na daoine sin agus iad a spreagadh cur fúthu i gceachtar den dá Ghaeltacht i gContae na Mí? Nach mbeadh sé iontach dá mbeadh na teaghlaigh sin fós in ann a bheith ina gcónaí i nGaeltacht agus a gcuid páistí a thógáil le Gaeilge agus beocht nua a chur sna Gaeltachtaí i gContae na Mí freisin? An mbeidh an tAire Stáit sásta obair a dhéanamh a deis sin a thapú?

Is smaoineamh suimiúil é sin. Tá eolas agam ar na Gaeltachtaí i gContae na Mí: i mBaile Ghib agus i Rath Chairn. Tá a fhios agam gur tharla seo roimhe seo, gur cailleadh poist sa tionscal seo agus gur tugadh daoine as Tír Chonaill agus gur thosaigh siad ag obair i gContae na Mí. Sílim go gcaitheann siad trí lá sa tseachtain i gContae na Mí, i gCill Dhéagláin, agus go dtéann siad abhaile an chuid eile den tseachtain. Ach nuair atá deireadh ráite, sílim gur mhaith leis na daoine seo a bheith ina gcónaí ina gceantar féin, i gceantar Ghaoth Dobhair. Nílimid ag iarraidh daoine le Gaeilge a chailleadh as an gceantar sin ach oiread.

Bíonn daoine ag taisteal i rith na seachtaine. Maireann an shift 12 uair ar feadh 3 lá agus tá na daoine ábalta dul ar ais. Tá an comhlacht ag tabhairt tacaíochta dóibh maidir le costas tacsaí agus costas eile, agus molaim an comhlacht as sin. Más rud é go bhfuil daoine a thagann aníos agus a shocraíonn ar chónaí go buan lena dteaghlaigh i gContae na Mí, is smaoineamh an-suimiúil é.

B'fhéidir gur plantation nua a bheadh i gceist.