Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Select Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017

Vote 33 - Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Revised)


Cuirim fáilte romhaibh go léir anseo inniu. We feel a little outnumbered today but we will do our best to have a good and decent engagement. Tá triúr comhalta i láthair agus is féidir linn tús a chur leis an gcruinniú. Tá leithscéal faighte agam ón Teachta Martin Heydon agus tá Teachta Marcella Corcoran Kennedy anseo ina ionad. Iarraim oraibh bhur ngutháin póca a mhúchadh mar cuireann siad isteach ar an gcóras fuaime agus ar chraolachán an chruinnithe.

Inniu déanfaimid plé leis an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, an Teachta Heather Humphreys, maidir le Vóta 33, Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta - Meastacháin Athbhreithnithe. Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire. Ceapaim go mbeidh an tAire Stáit, an Teachta Joe McHugh, linn níos déanaí. Cuirim fáilte roimh na hoifigigh go léir freisin.

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

Ba mhaith liom iad a chur ar an eolas go ndéanfar na ráitis tionscnaimh a chuireann siad faoi bhráid an choiste a fhoilsiú ar shuíomh ghréasáin 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 le hoifigeach ina ainm nó ina hainm nó ar shlí ina bhféadfaí é nó í a aithint.

Tósóimid leis an fhianaise. If an tAire would like to make a presentation to start with, we will then proceed with the debate.

Before the Minister begins, I would like to let the Chairman know that I am deputising for Deputy Martin Heydon.


We announced that earlier on.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the committee again on the 2017 Estimates for my Department. These Estimates were originally considered by the committee on 11 May this year and voted by the Dáil on 30 May. As of 26 July 2017, responsibility for regional and rural affairs has been transferred to my colleague, Deputy Michael Ring, the Minister for Rural and Community Development. The resources associated with these functions have also transferred to the newly established Department of Rural and Community Development. My Department has been refocused as the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. A further Revised Estimate is now necessary to give effect to this change in responsibilities and functions.

The gross provision available to my Department in 2017 is now €288.4 million. In broad terms, the breakdown of allocations is as follows: €158 million for arts, culture and film; more than €45 million for the conservation and protection of Ireland’s built and natural heritage; €46.6 million for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the islands; and €38.5 million for North-South co-operation. The performance expenditure and targets of my Department during the first half of 2017 were considered by the committee on 4 October last. Since that time, progress continues to be made on the delivery of commitments across all programme areas and the briefing material provided to members provides further updates in this regard.


Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire as sin. Tosóimid le clár A - ealaín, cultúr agus scannán. Would Deputy Smyth like to begin on programme A? I can start if she would prefer.

I will let the Chairman begin.


Issues involving the National Museum of Ireland have come up at the committee repeatedly over the past 18 months. I do not want to make a political issue out of it. Sometimes we can get entrenched very easily in political spats on issues like these. Next door to Leinster House is a building which we look at every day. There are staff in that building who have had difficulties in respect of bullying and harassment for the past ten years. There is an ocean of evidence detailing this. The Minister is aware of that ocean of evidence. It includes the disputed protected disclosure; the disputed letter which was not signed and did not have legal standing; the stacks of reports which have been made to consultants and to HR; the bringing in of the Rape Crisis Centre; psychotherapists stating that major difficulties were ongoing; and the massive amount of money which has been spent on legal battles. I am aware of a legal battle in which two State agents spent €110,000 in the High Court in a battle against one another over whether a particular staff member was employed by the Department. Former directors of the National Museum of Ireland have spoken about fierce misogyny within the organisation. I have never come across a list so long detailing such a negative culture within an organisation.

I understand that it is a difficult space for a Minister to get into. I understand that, first and foremost, the HR departments in those organisations are directly responsible for fixing those issues. However, the truth of the matter is a young woman still has to come out in front of the newspapers, something that is very difficult to do, to seek justice. We saw that just this weekend in the Irish Independent , the Irish Daily Mail and The Sunday Times. In respect of the issues around the Gate Theatre, the Government might have an excuse as that issue arose from left field to a certain extent. The Government might say it did not realise the difficulties in that area, but the issues in the National Museum are different. The Minister's predecessor and the Minister herself have been inundated with information on this since 2010. The Government cannot say it did not know. In a way, there is some level of complicity on the Government's part because it has been saturated with information on this issue. I would like to tease this out with the Minister. Is there anything more we can do?

As the Chairman knows, the National Museum of Ireland is dealing with a number of legacy HR issues relating to matters that took place a number of years ago. The board and management are taking steps to address these issues. The Chairman mentioned the newspapers at the weekend. That lady came forward with her story and I commend her on doing so. She was talking about something which commenced as early as 2006. I have consistently been clear that I cannot get involved in HR matters. They are matters for the executive and the board of the museum. I am bound to respect the statutory independence put in place by the Oireachtas under the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997. Section 31 of the Act makes clear that staff of the museum are staff of the board and the board is independent in its function.

Notwithstanding these legal limitations, I have actively provided additional support in dealing with the legacy issues the museum faces. My Department has sanctioned three specific HR positions and two temporary positions for the corporate services area of the museum to assist in the process. I have been very supportive of the chair and the new board. They were appointed in 2006. I have been working with them since then to support them in implementing change in the museum as well as preparing new plans to improve the museum's services to the public over the coming years. When I invited expressions of interest for the board, I specifically sought broad corporate experience, including corporate governance and business management, including HR.

What appeared in the newspapers last weekend is not new news, as both the Chairman and I know. This has been going on for a long time. It happened a long time ago and there are legacy issues. I have been doing something about it. I have been working with and supporting the museum. I have provided additional financial support and have worked with the chair and the board. The board and the chair have done a huge amount of work since they were appointed last year. They really have. They have taken on board the serious issues which have taken place in the museum and are dealing with them. They are doing everything they can to deal with the matter. I am happy to support them in every way I can in doing that.


The acting director of the museum between March 2012 and June 2013 was an official from the Minister's Department. There is perhaps an issue of vicarious liability in this situation as a result. Perhaps the Minister has some direct liability because the official in place at that time was an employee of the Department. Will the Minister give us her view on that?

It is plain to see that these are not just legacy issues. The former director of the museum has stated that he understands that the same culture still exists. My instinct would be, because of the vicarious liability which extends to the Minister, that she should seek to carry out an investigation into all of these issues.

The Deputy's statement about the official was incorrect because he was an employee of the museum since 2005.


The acting director was seconded to the museum from the Department from March 2012 to June 2013.

No, that is incorrect.


Even if the Minister is correct on this issue it would still be my instinct that an investigation is warranted.

I would also like to discuss the bullying and harassment issues in the arts sector. There has been some effort on the part of the Minister to pull together the eight theatre heads on this issue. I welcome that initiative. I cannot understand why the same urgency was not applied with regard to the National Museum of Ireland issue. In a couple of the debates that we have around this issue, the Minister quoted section 24(2) of the Arts Act 2003 which states, "The Council shall be independent in the performance of its functions". The next words are "under this section". This section refers to stimulating public interest in the arts, promoting knowledge and appreciation of practice of the arts, improving standards of the arts and otherwise assisting in the development or the advancement of the arts. We would all agree that independence in those spaces is good. The reason which the Minister has given for not getting more involved does not pertain to the Employment Equality Act 1998, the Workplace Relations Act 2015 or the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. My instinct would be that there is a necessity for accountability in this space. We know that wrongdoing proliferates when there is no accountability. We know also that this wrongdoing has been going on for a long time in some of these organisations. If it were in the Minister's design to reduce the funding which some of these organisations receive, not on the basis of the Arts Act 2003 but on the basis of the workers' rights legislation, would that not have the effect of improving the working experience of men and women in those organisations?

As the Chairman will be aware, the Arts Council is independent in its funding decisions. I have been accused of interfering, which I have never done. I will not interfere in the independence of the Arts Council in allocating arts funding. It receives and assesses the applications and it makes the decisions. I have no input into that process. I understand there are a number of conditions applicable to financial assistance provided by the council. These conditions include a requirement that recipients comply with all laws applicable to the body in question, including statutory obligations under employment law, statutes, regulations and Revenue requirements. In addition, recipients must avoid any form of discriminatory practice and have regard to the need to promote equal opportunities in all areas of work in compliance with the provisions of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2001. I will not apply conditions to Arts Council funding. Following on from discussions I have had with the Arts Council, I know it is very cognisant of these requirements and it will again highlight to the organisations to which they provide funding the need to comply with these laws. The organisations that receive funding have responsibilities under the law. They are clear on their responsibilities in this regard.


The Minister and the Oireachtas have responsibility for the expenditure of taxpayers' money. The Minister is correct that under the Arts Act 2003 the Arts Council is independent in its functions but only as provided for in section 24. What happens when these organisations do not comply with the law? Are we to stand over the Arts Council continuing to fund them and allowing them to proceed as is?

Section 24(2) of the Arts Act 2003 provides that the council is independent in its funding decisions. The Minister cannot direct or influence the council on what organisations it should fund or the amount of that funding.


The Minister is quoting from the Arts Act 2003 which I quoted from earlier.

Yes. I will not interfere with Arts Council decisions. If I were to do so the Chairman would be the first person to tell me that I should not be doing so.


We will bring the discussion on this issue to a close.

To clarify it further, the Workplace Relations Commission was set up by the State to assist people who have issues they want to take further. There are a number of bodies that assist employees in this area. What has happened is wrong and I have arranged a meeting with the heads of the theatres to discuss it. I am also working with the Abbey Theatre and the chairperson of the Arts Council to put in place a consultation process around this issue because I want to hear what the problems are and to work with the sector to resolve them. This is unacceptable behaviour. A cultural change is required and that change has to come from the ground up. We have to facilitate and encourage people to engage and do the right thing and to treat people with respect and dignity.


It is clear that current structures are not working. There are a number of levers open to the Minister to resolve this issue. First, there is a culture of unaccountability in this sector. In other words, people believe they are unaccountable and can proceed in this manner. Second, there are individuals who are very powerful employing people on poor, flexible, low-hour contracts who if they raise their voices might not get additional contracts. Third, there is the funding issue. If the Minister was to strengthen all of these areas it would improve the workforce experience in this area.

We have some of the strongest employment legislation in Europe, much of which was updated over the past couple of years. We also have whistleblower legislation. I cannot get involved in HR issues. However, I will work with the sector on what it believes will bring about improvements. There is a cultural issue here. The culture of bullying and harassment in any organisation must be weeded out. I will do what I can to assist the sector but I am limited in what I can do. As I said, I will work with the sector on what it believes needs to happen to improve the situation as we move forward.

I thank the Minister for her opening statement. I have a number of questions on programme A - arts, culture and film. As outlined by the Minister the allocation for Cruinniú na Cásca was €1.25 million, which was a huge success and a flagship project nationally. An allocation of €0.6 million was provided to RTÉ to, produce, deliver and curate Cruinniú na Cásca and €850,000 was set aside to enable the OPW to organise the event in terms of logistics, security, event control etc. Perhaps the Minister would provide us with a breakdown of the artists who participated in this event and what they received in monetary terms. Also, will this be an annual event going forward and, if so, how much will artists gain from it in terms of support?

A total of €900,000 has been allocated for citizens' engagement. The Creative Ireland supplement in The Irish Times and the Irish Independent is a huge part of that. They are both PR exercises for Creative Ireland. What do the artists gain from such expenditure or the events that are promoted?

I ask the Minister to comment further on the festivals partnership which got an overall allocation of €490,000. Some wonderful festivals have taken place such as the Dalkey book festival, the Galway Arts Festival, the Kilkenny Arts Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival, among others. The expenditure to date is €350,000. Could the Minister provide a clear outline on how Creative Ireland funding was made available to the directors of those festivals and what was involved in the application procedure?

I ask the Minister to provide an update on the administration costs of Creative Ireland. The director, John Concannon, has moved on to the Taoiseach's office. I would like a brief outline on the position in terms of his replacement and the continuation of Creative Ireland.

Harassment and bullying comes under this section. The point we were trying to make in the Dáil yesterday and that Deputy Tóibín tried to make here today is that while nobody wants the Minister to interfere with the decisions of the Arts Council on where funding is allocated, if an arts organisation in Cavan or Monaghan or elsewhere in the country makes an application to the Arts Council for funding certain boxes would have to be ticked before the application is even considered. I refer to child protection, health and safety and other such issues. I am sure the Minister would agree with committee members that harassment and bullying should be of the utmost importance when we see what has transpired and the revelations that have come about in reputable cultural organisations and institutions. The question is whether the Minister will ensure the Arts Council has a brief and meets criteria in terms of the successful applicants to whom it allocates funding, ticks the boxes and ensures there are policies in place that not only support and protect staff but facilitate them to speak up, have a voice and not live in fear. Getting funding should be contingent on the fact that such an important box would be ticked on any application form. The Minister has a role to play in that regard. It is not a question of asking the Minister to interfere with the decisions of the Arts Council but of asking her to ensure that a policy on the very important issue of harassments and bullying is in place before any cultural institution or arts organisation would be even considered for funding.

I will answer the last question first. There are conditions on Arts Council funding and they include a requirement that recipients must comply with all laws applicable to the body in question, including statutory obligations under employment law statutes, regulations and revenue requirements. Harassment and bullying is covered under employment law so it is covered.

In addition, recipients must avoid any form of discriminatory practice and have regard for the need to promote equal opportunities in all areas of work in compliance with the provisions of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011. The Arts Council is doing that. It is a requirement that bodies must comply with the legislation.

The Arts Council said that when such revelations were brought to it that it had no hand, act or part to play in such matters.

The Arts Council cannot be a regulator. It has said the conditions on the funding it provides include a requirement that recipients must comply with all laws applicable to the body in question. All laws are applicable to those organisations. They are bound by the laws of the land on employment and other areas. They organisations must do that.

The allocation of funding has not been contingent on policies on harassment and bullying being in place. I ask the Minister to ensure that is the case from now on.

It is the case already. Organisations must be in compliance with the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011, which include issues such as bullying and harassment. I am working with the Arts Council to arrange regional workshops to address all of those issues. We will meet in the Abbey Theatre initially but workshops will be held across the country for arts and cultural organisations to hear about the requirements on them. Deputy Smyth and I came out of the workplace and we know that staff and management need to be made aware of their responsibilities because sometimes in the world of work norms creep in that are unacceptable to others. Everybody needs to get the training and to familiarise themselves with what is acceptable and what is not. I agree that what has been going on is unacceptable. I will work with the Arts Council to roll out that training.

Regarding Cruinniú na Cásca, as happened last year many top quality artists, including the RTÉ concert orchestra, will play across four stages in Dublin. Department policy is that artists are employed on industry rates. We can get more details on that for Deputy Smyth.

Did the artists who participated get paid for their performance on the day?

Yes, they would have been. They were not paid directly by us but through RTÉ. We funded RTÉ and it in turn employed the various artists for the different events.

Did the artists who were involved in the Cruinniú na Cásca festival events which took place outside the remit of RTÉ that were organised by local authorities get paid a professional fee?

They were all paid through local authorities. I imagine there is a code of practice in place but I am not sure. That was all done by the local authorities. Funding was provided to them and they organised their own cruinniú events in every single county. The festival was very successful and people really engaged on the day. Many events were organised right across the country.

We funded Creative Ireland events at festivals. We approached people who were having festivals. We want to let people know about Creative Ireland and we want more people to engage with the arts. We are committed to increasing participation. We approached festivals to collaborate with us and the funding was set aside to support various high profile, high impact events and initiatives co-curated with key cultural partners and existing prestigious events to communicate and showcase the objectives of the Creative Ireland programme and to encourage increased engagement in creative pursuits across the country. We entered into a number of partnerships with festivals including those outlined by Deputy Smyth such as the Dalkey book festival where we had a presence. The intention was for Creative Ireland to have a presence in various places. A good example of that is the ploughing championships. We took a stand there which was very successful. Performances took place this year. We went to the organisers rather than them coming to us. It was about Creative Ireland having a presence at those events and being part of them and that is why such funding was provided.

I take it that no expressions of interest were sent to the Minister but that she got in touch with the festivals and suggested that Creative Ireland would be involved.

Yes, we wanted to be part of the festivals.

How did the Minister select the festivals with which she got involved?

They were high profile festivals. There is a list of them here. They were all over the country. For example, the Hot Press Write Here, Write Now event in Killarney, the Belfast-Los Angeles-----

What were the exact criteria for selecting them?

They were high profile events across the country and we wanted to be part of them. Other festivals included the Kilkenny Arts Festival and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, which is a big event that one would not want to miss.

I do not deny that at all but I am just interested in the selection criteria. Those involved in the arts who are listening to us today are always faced with refusals for funding.

Not very many avenues are open for arts funding. It was my understanding that arts festivals sent an expression of interest to the Department. I thought the Department put a call out to festivals for expressions of interest. The Minister is now telling me that is not the case, that the Department contacted festivals-----

It is a two-way process.

Apart from that, what criteria were used by the Department to select which festival to contact?

There was a two-way process. We wanted to be part of the process, perhaps somebody told us about an event and that we could be part of it.

It was an ad hoc arrangement


I have given Deputy Smyth two minutes extra. I know it is an important issue.

We still did not get clarity on the issue. We have not had clarity.


If there is time, we will come back to this.

Chairman, some of my questions were not answered. I would like to have them answered. What about citizens' engagement, which is very important? A sum of €0.9 million, which is almost €1 million, was spent on The Irish Times and the Irish Independent and I am curious-----


We will come back a second time on this issue.

I thank the Chair. I thank the Minister and Minister of State for their presence. It is good to be here and to hear of increases in funding to the arts. There were no increases for many years and we all would have preferred to have more. I hope we will be able to see these increases continue year on year.

Let me draw attention to the following. The new cultural and heritage centre at College Green, Dublin will be a fantastic asset and will add to the whole cultural offering in the city. We take for granted the fact that entry to many of the cultural institutions are free. If one goes abroad, one must pay to visit museums and galleries. When people come to Dublin, they cannot believe they can have access to all of these amazing places. Will that be the approach in this centre? It would be marvellous to have a Seamus Heaney exhibition there because he is a cultural icon, both nationally and internationally.

I understand that under the culture plan, each local authority will have a culture team. Is the Minister engaging with the local authority culture teams to see what their work programmes are? Does she have ongoing engagement with the culture teams? I ask because these teams are so important in the delivery of Creative Ireland as the arts officers and the heritage officers really have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on in their counties. It is really important that it is ongoing.

I have had a look at the excellent Creative Ireland website, Ireland.ie. Is there scope to expand on that website? There are fantastic artists, writers and people involved in the cultural life of Ireland who might well be available for work or to participate, whether nationally or internationally. Would it be possible to have a section of the website direct the public to artists who register on it? I think it might be worthwhile to look at broadening the capacity. There was a great outcome to the celebration of the 2016 year of commemorations and the fact that communities really embraced this in such a positive way took everybody by surprise. While everyone knew it would be driven by the Government and the local authorities, to see communities really looking at their history and having enactments with adults and children really participating in an engaged way was a marvellous outcome. It was a little surprising because I do not believe people really expected the level of community engagement, which was really marvellous.

I was appalled to hear about the alleged harassment which has been revealed recently. The approach the Minister has taken in dealing with it has been positive and constructive. She has taken control of it, putting procedures in place rather than waiting for something to evolve. I am trying to get my head around the points made by the Chairman and Deputy Niamh Smyth about people who were funding cultural organisations or indeed any organisation. To clarify, is it being suggested that those who are providing funding to outside organisations, be they agencies or whatever, should get involved in issues that fall under employment legislation? If that be the case, would it apply to the political parties that are funded by the Houses of the Oireachtas? If there was a difficulty within a political party, does that mean the funder would get involved? Is that the direction in which the members are going in this regard? Employment law is very clear.


Let me suggest a platform in which this could be done in the context of non-compliance with employment law in the State. It is my view that were a regulatory body such as the Workplace Relations Commission to identify ongoing long-term non-compliance with the law and were no effort made to remedy the situation, it would be one of the powers of the Minister to adjudge the next application by the organisation to the Arts Council as not fulfilling the criteria and therefore not entitled to State funding.

When one is looking at employment law, one is looking at so many different-----

Let us be careful.


Deputy Ó Cuív, I do not want to take away from Deputy Corcoran Kennedy's time.

The Chairman said-----


I made a suggestion in the case of a State-funded organisation that is in non-compliance of legislation in respect of employment rights and has been found to be so by a regulatory body such as the Workplace Relations Commission. As the non-compliance has not been remedied, the organisation's application would be deemed not to fulfil the criteria on which the application was made. There is an onus on such organisations to fulfil the law. It would be one of the instruments or tools that the Minister could consider using to withdraw or reduce or prevent the application proceeding.

All public funding would have to be considered in the same way.



Deputy Corcoran Kennedy has the floor.

The Chairman made the suggestion that we were in an unusual situation.


Is Deputy Corcoran Kennedy happy to cede time?

My understanding is that if any public body refused point-blank to comply with the law, the Government would be well within its remit to stop funding it.

That would apply to everybody, not just the arts.

Yes. That it is a general provision.

For example, it would apply to political parties that are having difficulties in their own ranks. If the political parties are receiving public funding, whoever is funding them would be entitled to ask what is going on and to state they would not get political funding unless they comply with the law. The point I am making is that the same law applies to every single body..


We have clarity.

I agree with the Deputy that the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011 deal with harassment and bullying in the workplace. That is what governs it.

On the Seamus Heaney exhibition in the wonderful Bank of Ireland College Green centre, we have been working very closely with Bank of Ireland and the National Library in recent years. The exhibition is well under way and we hope it will open in mid-2018. Entry to the exhibition will be free. It adds further to the cultural offering in the centre of the city, which is great.

I must say that culture teams in local authorities are doing wonderful work on behalf of the Creative Ireland programme, again connecting with communities and getting more people to engage with culture and creativity. Every single local authority has drawn up a culture plan for its county and is now looking at a five-year strategy. We are working with them to develop a five-year plan for culture and creativity in every single county across the country.

It is easy to pick out specific things but when we started the Creative Ireland initiative, we were building on the 2016 initiative and the major interest that people have in culture and creativity.

The substance of the Creative Ireland initiative is creative children and communities, building more collaboratively on existing initiatives and working with all stakeholders to put culture and creativity at the centre of public policy and the heart of Irish society. It was a new concept and that is why we worked with different stakeholders. The Arts Council is a key partner in the Creative Ireland programme. It has a specific remit in terms of promoting the arts.

I have key responsibilities in the area and would not, in any way, interfere with the independence of the Arts Council and would in no way dilute its role. I will continue to work on it. Creative Ireland has more than a purely arts focus. It is about encouraging citizens to explore a wider creative agenda through access to the arts, although access to the arts is a key aspect.

Another key aspect of the programme has been working with local authorities and supporting voluntary groups which are trying to engage with citizens in a variety of creative pursuits. Every county has the plan and is working on it, and I want to continue to support them. Last year they received €1 million from my Department and this year I intend to double that funding which goes directly to local authorities that make decisions. I have no input into their decisions; they decide on how best to promote engagement through communities and local events.

Culture teams comprise museum curators, arts and heritage officers and librarians, and is director-led in local authorities. Every local authority has its own culture team and culture officer who leads that process.


We are over time.

I have covered most matters.

I did not expect the Minister to be before the committee again so soon. I will not have too many questions on finance today. I tabled a question for reply on 14 November on expenditure broken down by subhead. I keep being told that the information cannot be provided by subhead because adjustments may fall to be made between subheads and so on.

I find it strange that every other Department can tell me at any time of the year how much has been spent on a certain programme. We accept that the information may be subject to minor changes, but the figures should be available within a high level of accuracy. The replies are in the name of the Minister, who keeps forcing me to submit freedom of information requests. I know just how much Departments love those requests. Documentation must be trawled to get the figures I am looking for. I ask that the Minister reconsider this policy and give me the subhead data. I will get it one way or another. It is a waste of my time and that of the Minister to engage in freedom of information requests month after month. If the Minister thinks I am going to give up, she does not know me. I will not give up because our role in these meetings is about the money.

I have considered the spend, and accept that, on the face of it, it appears the Minister will spend everything on the current expenditure side because 80% has been spent. I am a little surprised as to why the data refers to only 94% of the profile to the end of October. One would have thought that current spending would be dealt with on a month-by-month basis and that with 80% spent the Department would hit 100% by the end of the year. Can the Minister confirm that, give or take the few hundred thousand euro which are always left over, she will spend the gross amount on the current side?

Yes I will, Deputy. I know I am prudent, but I will spend it all.

Good. I refer to the capital side. I note €20 million remains to be spent, but €28 million in total is available because €8 million of last year's money has not been spent. Quite a high proportion of €51 million remains to be spent with two months to go. This is an eternal problem for Departments. They are either not providing the bills or are not spending the money. The Minister is coming to the wire when the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is asking whether she wants to carry money over to next year. Does she expect to carry unspent capital into 2018?

At this stage I do not anticipate that there will be any carryover. We have spent €5.6 million of the €13.5 million which was carried over from last year. On the delay in spending the balance of that money, progress on the National Archives was slower than expected. It was allocated funding but has not been able to move the project on as quickly as it would have liked.

The National Concert Hall, which was allocated funding to install a new lift and staircase, also experienced some unexpected delays. The Glasnevin chapel was part of the carryover funding. It was refused planning permission by Dublin City Council. As the Deputy can appreciate, that has held up progress in the project. Regarding the carryover money, there are a number of emerging pressures which I hope to able to address with the capital funding which will not be spent in those areas for which it was intended because of the delays they have encountered.

On top of the €5.6 million, the Minister has already vired some of the money.

How much has the Minister vired?

€10 million has been vired from that area, €6 million to heritage and €2 million each to waterways and the Irish language.

Is that out of the savings, or vired in general?

It has been vired from savings under subhead A7. Due to the scale and complexity of once-off aspects of the capital programme, some adjustments have been made to allocations. Savings will arise under subhead A7, cultural infrastructure and development, and subhead A16, Cork Events Centre, as a result of delayed drawdowns in a number of capital projects due to a combination of outside factors.

Sanction has been received from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to vire these savings. They are: €2 million to meet additional demand under built heritage schemes; €4 million to subhead B5, natural heritage, which is to cover turf compensation measures and essential works at the National Parks and Wildlife Service; €2 million to programme C, the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the islands; and €2 million to Waterways Ireland for essential works to the waterways network. As the committee knows, there was significant damage to waterways earlier in the year and we will be able to do some essential work on waterways and in national parks.

Some of it came from the carryover.

It did not come from that. If these projects are not finished by the end of the year, the carryover becomes a carryover into next year.

No, I cannot carry over a carryover.

Is it a case of use it or lose it?

I note that when the Minister carried it over, she did not allocate it to exactly the same things as it had been allocated to in the first year. There were slight twiddles. If she had moved more of the money around between 2016 and 2017, she would have been able to spend it all. She said there will be about €8 million.

We said we will get to spend it all.

All of the carryover?

Yes. I plan to spend it.

The Minister will not spend it on the projects to which it was allocated.

I understand we can spend it on other emerging projects.

I thought that was the case.

Yes, within that subhead.

Okay. The Minister will spend all of the money this year.

I hope to. I will provide the Deputy with the figures pertaining to the other note.

I thank the Minister.

Tá ceist agam don Aire Stáit, an Teachta McHugh. An bhféadfadh sé a rá liom-----


Táimid ag fanacht le clár A. Nílimid thíos chomh fada le-----

Tá brón orm. Shíl mé go rabhamar ag labhairt go ginearálta.

Tá mé sásta an cheist a fhreagairt.


Rachaimid tríd clár B agus tiocfaimid ansin go clár C más féidir. Tá go leor le clúdú. We have a good few programmes to cover.

I need answers.


We cannot force answers. We can only ask for them. We will give an extra two minutes to programme A. I have a question on this myself for the Minister. An issue has arisen around the RTÉ orchestras. Does the Minister's Department have any responsibility, given that the symphony and concert orchestras come under the term "culture"? A review is being carried out in RTÉ and there are concerns that it may seek to in some fashion amalgamate the players in the two orchestras. I understand that the word in the relevant legislation is "orchestras", which would indicate that there is more than one. There is a big concern that this country's cultural output will be damaged if we lose an orchestra or if the orchestras are amalgamated. Ireland can very quickly become a cultural satellite of other anglophone countries if we do not develop our own cultural output and self-expression. This could also lead to difficulties with our own artistic experience and with our own understanding of who we are. Is it the Minister's view that it would be good for the State, culturally speaking, to have two fully functioning orchestras?

All I can say is that the orchestras are a matter for RTÉ and that, other than what I read in the newspapers, I am not familiar with this matter. The one orchestra I do fund is the Cross-Border Orchestra of Ireland, CBOI, which is done on a cross-Border basis, and it is a wonderful opportunity for young people to engage in an orchestra, work as part of a team, and play instruments. They do wonderful work, with which I am sure the committee is familiar. They will be starting their season shortly and they are fantastic.

Coming back to Deputy Smyth's question about the director of Creative Ireland, that position has been advertised, there have been applications for the position, and we hope to be able to appoint a new director before the end of the year, and even sooner, if possible.

The figures indicate that €600,000 was spent on RTÉ and €900,000 spent on media, specifically on Cruinniú na Cásca and the Department's citizens' engagement, amounting to an overall spend of €1.5 million. What measurement, tools or monitoring does the Department have in place to monitor the benefit of this to the artists involved?

Cruinniú na Cásca, as the Deputy knows, was the national cultural day that we held on Easter Monday. That funding was provided to RTÉ, which organised all the events and paid the artists directly. I cannot get involved in that micromanagement. RTÉ did that and we worked in collaboration with it.

What came back to us from our public consultation was that people wanted to hear more about Creative Ireland and what the Department does. We took these views on board and, through the media, organised an initiative right across the country to let people know what was happening. I was all about informing the public and encouraging people to get involved and to engage.

What tools have been used to measure how effective that has been?

Of course we review all of our initiatives and we have had very good information and feedback on the media engagement. People were happy with it. We are currently reviewing Cruinniú na Cásca and the money that was spent on it.

Are there any tools in place to measure the effectiveness of the money being spent by the Department on media, between RTÉ and print, as opposed to giving that money directly to the artists? That is what I am asking about. A total of €1.5 million has been spent on the media to promote Creative Ireland. How effective has that been? What tools are being used to measure that?

A huge amount of the total €600,000 paid to RTÉ went directly to artists because that was to put on a culture day.

But what tools are in place to measure that?


Through the Chair, please, Deputy.

We have tools. Of course we review our spending and of course we look at it and see the benefits or otherwise. Maybe there are things we can do better. We are currently reviewing Cruinniú na Cásca and will provide that information in due course when we decide what we are going to do with it if we want to continue with it.


We will move on programme B. I will open the questions on this. Programme B refers to Moore Street and I am on the record as having given the Minister credit for the development of the Moore Street consultative forum which is trying to identify a solution to the Moore Street space. Moore Street is obviously of massive cultural importance to the people but, unfortunately, the location is a sterile environment and has been for years due to the ongoing wrangling between developers, the State, and cultural and heritage organisations. My major concern is that we are probably going to be looking at a continuation of the legal wrangling for the next three to five years and that quarter at the northern end of O'Connell Street will remain a sterile space. This would be a major sin for us if that were to be the case because the opportunity exists there, one, to pay respect to the men and women of 1916, two, to bring alive the heritage of that era for Irish people and tourists to experience, and three, to make it a vibrant market space. This is in our gift and I believe that we should do all that we can to achieve it. I understand that the property developer, Hammerson, has not engaged with the consultative group so far and that the Minister is meeting it next week. It would be useful if she could, one, convince Hammerson to really get involved in working as a partner on the future of Moore Street, and two, indicate what tools she might have up her sleeve to encourage Hammerson to do this. One of the tools could be, for example, that a number of buildings or streets would be identified as preserved national monuments. That would obviously focus the mind of Hammerson in the future. Perhaps the Minister could talk about that.

I thank the Moore Street consultative forum. It is something I discussed with Deputy Ó Cuív at the time. I pay tribute to him on that, because he said he felt that was a good way to bring it forward. I took his comments on board, set up the forum and put the chairman in place. This forum has worked very well and I again pay tribute to Mr. Gerry Kearney who chaired that and it did a very good job. The forum came to me with its report which included the recommendation that we set up an advisory forum. I have done that now and we have a new chair, Dr. Tom Collins, who is working with the group. I am arranging a date on which to meet the chairman, Dr. Collins. I will be meeting the developer, as the Chairman mentioned, to talk to him on how we can engage with the advisory group and also impress upon him how we need to work together. Hammerson is relatively new to this process, having become the owners of this property not that long ago. The Chairman can rest assured that I will encourage the developer in every way that I can to work with the advisory group. As the committee knows, the State owns Nos. 14 to 17, and under direction from the courts, we carried out some very necessary restoration work to weather and protect these buildings. We have done that, and if we need to go back to do some more work, we will certainly go back to the courts to ask their permission for this, because we have to do that, based on the judgment. As the committee knows, we appealed the judgment. We did not have a choice because it would have had a huge impact on other infrastructural projects throughout the country.

As I said, I am committed to doing all that I can, as are the members of the advisory committee, to progress this matter as quickly as possible.


Compulsory purchase orders are another tool which the Minister could use. What are the views of the Minister and the Department on the compulsory purchase of other buildings in that space, again to focus the mind of Hammerson?

Again, I encourage the members of the committee to talk to Hammerson, as I do myself. I encourage it to engage in a pathway forward.

I just have one small question for the Minister. For some reason it is proposed that the national Famine commemoration will be in Munster again next year. Since it was set up, it has always rotated between the four provinces because the Famine was not a local event but a national event which affected the whole island. Is there any particular reason the Minister has broken with tradition and is having the Famine commemoration in Cork next year rather than up in cúige Chonnacht? What did the people of Galway do? We were very badly hit by the Famine. There are some very harrowing descriptions of it from places such as Cois Fharraige.

First of all, we had a very successful Famine commemoration this year in Ballingarry. It was out in quite a remote place. It was extremely well organised and I pay tribute to the local community there. It put a huge amount of work into making it a very successful day. The community was delighted that the Famine commemoration came to its area. The Taoiseach attended, which was wonderful. The decision on where Famine events are held is up to the Famine committee. There is a special committee which looks at the different venues. Next year is a special year for Cork however. I was cognisant that there was a tradition of going around the different provinces. I was conscious of that but there is a special event in University College Cork next year. Huge effort has been put into launching The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, which is a magnificent book. Special events are also being held to educate people and to get them more engaged with that period in our history. It is important that we do that. There was a lot on in Cork and the committee felt that the commemoration should be held there next year. The Deputy will be glad to hear that we will revert to the model of rotating between provinces from the year after. It is a once-off change for next year, but after that we will go back to going around the provinces.

I hear the Minister's answer but I am still disappointed. There is an old saying in Irish - ná déan nós agus ná bris nós. Do not make a habit and do not break a habit. The Minister will get all sorts of special pleading from very powerful elite groups like universities. The Famine commemoration is meant to be about the communities. When the first committee met, it purposely decided not to have a fixed location because every community in Ireland suffered. Some of the more isolated communities had the most harrowing experiences. That is why they are now isolated, because they lost so much of their populations. I regret the decision but I accept it. I look forward to the commemoration in Connacht the following year. It might be an idea to pick a Gaeltacht area in 2019 for the very simple reason that the demise of the Irish language can be very directly attributed to the Famine. There has been academic work on this issue. The language's decline was absolutely spectacular from the year 1841 onwards. To make up it up to the people of Connacht, the Minister might suggest a Gaeltacht area in 2019 to the committee. I know she has influence on the committee.

In fairness, the committee did make that decision itself. I did not interfere in it.

Is the Minister not chair of the committee?

I am chair but there is a sub-committee which decided where the commemoration will be held. It asked to change the process for UCC. I will be happy to take the Deputy's suggestions to the committee. I agree with him that many places impacted by the Famine were remote areas. Ballingarry was a typical example of that. The welcome we received in Ballingarry and the effort which the locals put in was second to none. There is no taking away from that. It was a wonderful day. There is really a lot of stuff going into this event in UCC. I think people will be pleased when they see what is on offer. I agree with the Deputy. We will return to the old model and I am happy to bring his suggestions to the committee.

I hope the Minister will remember that the smaller the place, the bigger the crowd.

Exactly. We had it in Clones previously and there was a great crowd there.


Does anyone else wish to ask a question on this programme? We will move onto programme C. Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit.

Tá soláthar de €46.736 milliún ar fáil i 2017 don chlár Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus oileán. Tá suim reatha de €35.769 milliún san áireamh anseo, maraon le suim €10.967 milliún do chaiteachas caipitil. Bhí ollchaiteachas de €16.355 milliún san iomlán do chlár C go dtí deireadh mhí an Mheithimh 2017.

Mar a thuigfidh an coiste, tá réimse leathan oibre agus gníomhaíochtaí idir lámha agam féin agus ag mo chuid oifigigh chun tacú leis an Ghaeilge. Is orainn atá an fhreagracht fhoriomlán as cur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030. Tá sé tábhachtach a aithint go bhfuil an obair agus an infheistíocht atá á déanamh i gcaitheamh an ama i leith an raon leathan scéimeanna, bearta, clár agus tionscnamh atá á mhaoiniú ó rannóg na Gaeltachta de chuid na Roinne lárnach d’fheidhmiú na straitéise 20 bliain. Chuige sin, tá sé i gceist go mbeidh plean gníomhaíochta don tréimhse ó 2017 go 2022, ina mbeidh spriocanna sonracha agus amscálaí ina leith, á chur i dtoll a chéile ag mo Roinn agus á fhoilsiú gan mhoill.

Ó cuireadh tús leis an phróiseas pleanála teanga trí bliana ó shin, is ar ullmhúchán pleananna a bhí an próiseas dírithe. Lean an obair seo ar aghaidh i gcaitheamh na bliana anuraidh. Níos túisce i mbliana, fógraíodh go raibh allúntas ar fiú €850,000 in iomlán á chur ar fáil ag mo Roinn chun cabhrú le feidhmiú an phróisis pleanála teanga sa bhliain reatha. Agus tús á chur le feidhmiú na bpleananna teanga sna limistéir Gaeltachta i mbliana, tógadh céim mhór chun tosaigh le feidhmiú an phróisis agus dá réir, le feidhmiú na straitéise. Tá an chéad trí cinn de na pleananna sin seolta agam anois agus beidh allúntas de €100,000 an ceann curtha ar fáil sa chéad bhliain chun tús a chur lena gcur i bhfeidhm.

Is tráthúil go bhfuil tús á chur leis an phróiseas seo comhthreomhar le cur i bhfeidhm an pholasaí don oideachas Gaeltachta ag an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna, mar tá an dá bheartas polasaí seo fite fuaite lena chéile. Tabharfaidh an t-allúntas seo deis do na coistí áitiúla oifigigh pleanála teanga a fhostú chun tús a chur le cur i bhfeidhm a gcuid pleananna. Anuas air sin, dár ndóigh, beidh fáil ag na coistí seo sa ghearrthéarma ar na tacaíochtaí éagsúla atá ar fáil faoin réimse leathan scéimeanna atá á riaradh ag mo Roinn agus ag Údarás na Gaeltachta. Caithfear a chur san áireamh anseo nach bhfuil ach trí cinn de phleananna teanga seolta go fóill. De réir mar a thagann tuilleadh pleananna chun cinn, beidh mo Roinn agus an t-údarás in ann anailís a dhéanamh ar na riachtanais comónta atá sonraithe ag na pobail éagsúla ina gcuid pleananna agus scéimeanna an dá eagraíocht a leasú le freastal ar na héilimh sin. Ag baint úsáide as an gcur chuige seo, táim thar a bheith muiníneach go mbeidh an Stát in ann freastal ar an mbealach is cuí agus is éifeachtaí ar riachtanais an phobail taobh istigh de na hacmhainní atá ar fáil.

Is é €6.687 milliún an bhunlíne úr caipitil i mbuiséid 2017 d’Údarás na Gaeltachta, €1 milliún níos airde ná an bunlíne i mbuiséid 2016.

Anuas ar sin, tá áthas orm gur éirigh liom maoiniú breise de €1.5 milliún a chur ar fáil do bhuiséad caipitil Údarás na Gaeltachta níos túisce i mbliana, rud a thugann buiséid caipitil na heagraíochta go dtí €8.187 milliún i 2017. Cuirfidh an maoiniú breise seo ar chumas Údarás na Gaeltachta poist a choinneáil ina gcliantchomhlachtaí sa Ghaeltacht agus tuilleadh infheistíochta a mhealladh go ceantair Ghaeltachta. Chuige sin, is í mo thuiscint go bhfuil sí mar aidhm ag an údarás 500 post úr a chruthú sa Ghaeltacht i 2017.

Tá roinnt céimeanna tógtha anseo in Éirinn agus sa Bhruiséil chun tabhairt faoi dheireadh a chur leis an maolú maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge in institiúidí an Aontais Eorpaigh i 2021. Tá thart ar €1 milliún á chur ar fáil i mbliana don earnáil tríú leibhéal chun cúrsaí oiliúna cuí do na poist san Aontas a sholáthar. Tá borradh ag teacht faoi na hiarrachtaí seo faoi láthair agus tá tuilleadh aistritheoirí fostaithe ag na hinstitiúidí Eorpacha i mbliana chun a chur ar a gcumas tuilleadh ábhair a aistriú go Gaeilge. An mhí seo caite, d’eagraigh mo Roinn, i gcomhar le Coimisiún na hEorpa, comhdháil i mBaile Átha Cliath ar mhaithe le gréasáin de shaineolaithe a bhunú in Éirinn chun tacú le haistritheoirí san Eoraip. Leis na forbairtí seo uile, táim lán-mhuiníneach go mbeidh ar ár gcumas deireadh a chur leis an maolú i 2021.

Maidir le teagasc na Gaeilge in ollscoileanna thar lear, tá ag éirí go han-mhaith leis an gclár seo agus tá méadú leanúnach tagtha ar na hiarratais faoin scéim ó bhliain go bliain. Mar léiriú ar sin, tá deontais de €1.8 milliún san iomlán ceadaithe don tréimhse 2016-2017 go 2018-2019 le os cionn 40 ollscoil agus coláistí tríú leibhéal timpeall an domhain. Cuireann an scéim seo go mór le scoláireacht na Gaeilge i measc an phobail acadúil idirnáisiúnta agus méadaítear stádas na teanga dá réir. Táim dóchasach go mbeidh ról lárnach agus tábhachtach ag na dreamanna éagsúla sin maidir le bliain na Gaeilge 2018.

Tá obair leanúnach ar bun againn chun cuidiú le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge tríd an teicneolaíocht. Tá forbairtí móra déanta agus á ndéanamh ar chorpas na Gaeilge leis an bhfoclóir nua foclóir.ie agus an suíomh téarma.ie. Chomh maith leis sin, tá tacaíocht á tabhairt ag mo Roinn d’Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann chun foclóir stairiúil na Gaeilge a chur i gcrích.

Anuas ar na forbairtí seo go léir, tá an tionscadal taighde abair.ie i gColáiste na Tríonóide ag déanamh tuilleadh forbartha ar shintéiseoir Gaeilge, is é sin, córas inar féidir téacs scríofa a aistriú go caint bheo i gcanúintí éagsúla. Ceadaíodh beart maoinithe de €621,000 chomh maith i mbliana d’Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath chun taighde tábhachtach eile a dhéanamh maidir leis an Ghaeilge sa ré teicneolaíochta. Chun na deiseanna teicneolaíochta seo ar fad a threisiú san am amach romhainn, tá plean digiteach don Ghaeilge á ullmhú faoi láthair ag an dá ollscoil le tacaíocht na Roinne agus tá súil agam go mbeidh sé réidh le seoladh roimh dheireadh na bliana.

Tar éis athbhreithniú cuimsitheach a dhéanamh ar Bhille na dteangacha oifigiúla (leasú), a dréachtaíodh anuraidh, agus tréimhse comhairliúchán leis na páirtithe leasmhara, foilsíodh ceannteidil úr an Bhille níos túisce i mbliana. Tá an Bille á dhréachtú faoi láthair agus tá na ceannteidil curtha faoi bhráid an Chomhchoiste Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus Oileáin le scrúdú, mar atá a fhios ag an Chathaoirleach. Beidh an cheist maidir le hearcú daoine le Gaeilge don tseirbhís phoiblí lárnach don reachtaíocht seo.

Tá an Foras Teanga ar ceann de na sé chomhlacht forfheidhmithe a bunaíodh faoin Acht um Chomhaontú na Breataine-na hÉireann 1999. D’éirigh liom €750,000 breise a fháil, curtha san áireamh sna Meastacháin Athbhreithnithe do 2017, don Fhoras Teanga. Tá tograí éagsúla ar a gcaithfidh Foras na Gaeilge an t-airgead breise sin ceadaithe agam i mbliana. San áireamh anseo, tá an costas a bhaineann le bogadh na heagraíochta go dtí ceannáras úr ar Shráid Amiens.

Tá cúpla ceist ghairid agam, dhá cheist faoi phleanáil teanga san áireamh. Tá cuid de na grúpaí a réitigh pleananna ag rá nach leor an €200,000 leis an obair a dhéanamh i gceart. Ní mór an maith iarraidh ar dhaoine plean a réiteach gan na hacmhainní cuí a chur ar fáil dóibh leis an bplean a chur i gcrích. An bhfuil sé i gceist athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an gcinneadh gan ach €100,000 a chur ar fáil? An bhfuil sé i gceist breis airgid a chur ar fáil? Baineann na pleananna seo le ceantair Gaeltachta. An bhfuil spriocanna sna pleananna maidir le cruthú fostaíochta teangalárnach sna ceantair seo? Dar liom, níl aon rud a mheallann pobail, go mórmhór pobail tuaithe, níos mó ná deiseanna fostaíochta. Creidim go bhfuil na coláistí Gaeilge tar éis an-leas a dhéanamh. I gConamara feicimid go leor fostaíochta teangalárnach - postanna riaracháin, postanna san earnáil craoltóireachta, postanna san earnáil oideachais, postanna mar aistritheoirí agus mar sin de. An bhfuil sé mar sprioc i gcuile plean go mbeadh tuilleadh fostaíochta den chineál sin d'ardchaighdeán ar fáil sna ceantair faoi na pleananna teanga? Sin ceist amháin.

Baineann an dara ceist le Foras na Gaeilge. An raibh plé déanta ag an Aire Stáit maidir le comh-mhaoiniú breise a fháil ón Tuaisceart? Faoin Foras Teanga, cuireann an tAire Stáit €3 ar fáil d'Fhoras na Gaeilge do chuile euro a chuireann an Feidhmeannas ó Thuaidh ar fáil, nuair a bhíonn sé ann. Tá sé ar an mbealach eile thart le Gníomhaireacht na hUltaise. An bhfuil srian ar fhorbairt Fhoras na Gaeilge de bharr nach bhfuil aon Fheidhmeannas ann? Má tá, an mbreathnódh an tAire Stáit le cistíocht Stáit a chur ar fáil go díreach do chuid de na heagraíochtaí Gaeilge, gan dul tríd an fhoras, le cur lena gcuid gníomhaíochtaí i líne leis an straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge? Mura ndéanann an tAire Stáit é sin, beidh srian iomlán agus smacht iomlán ag Rúnaí Stáit na Breataine ar an bhForas Teanga.

Tá €1.9 milliún ar fáil faoi chlár C3, scéimeanna Gaeltachta. Tá mé ag caint faoi chaipiteal anois. Tá €1.9 milliún ar fáil mar fuair an tAire Stáit €500,000 breise. Cé mhéad de sin atá caite go dtí seo i mbliana? Abraimis go dtí Dé hAoine seo caite. Glacaim leis sin. Tá an cheist chéanna agam i leith na n-oileán, clár C9. Bhí €2.6 milliún ar fáil ansin. Cé mhéad de sin atá caite suas go dtí dé hAoine seo caite? Muna bhfuil an figiúir ag an Aire Stáit go dtí Dé hAoine, glacfaidh mé leis an lá deiridh den mhí seo caite.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Teachta faoi choinne na ceisteanna. Ar an chéad cheist fadúda pleanáil teanga, mar atá a fhios ag an Teachta, tá comhrá ag dul ar aghaidh idir mo chuid oifigeach, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus na heagraíochtaí ábhartha anois. Bhí cruinniú idir mo chuid oifigeach, oifigigh ó Údarás na Gaeltachta agus dream ó Chois Fharraige an tseachtain seo caite. Tá mé ag fanacht ar thoradh an chomhrá sin. Tá an comhrá ar bun faoi láthair. Tá sé de dhíth. Sílim go bhfuil cúpla deacracht agus fadhb ann. Tá mé ar iarraidh spáis faoi choinne na gcomhráite atá ag dul ar aghaidh maidir leis sin.

Maidir leis an cheist faoi choinne deiseanna fostaíochta, tá mé ar an pháirc peile céanna leis an Teachta maidir leis sin. B'fhéidir go mbeidh deiseanna ag daoine ó na ceantair Gaeltachta le hoideachas tríú leibhéal teacht ar ais.

Níl an iomarca airgid bhreise ar fáil ach, é sin ráite, bhí suas le €200,000 ar fáil in 2014 agus beidh €2.6 milliún ar fáil an bhliain seo chugainn faoi choinne pleanála teanga. Is tús é sin. Chuala mé an díospóireacht agus na smaointe fadúda acmhainní. Bhí an Cathaoirleach ag caint fadúda na hacmhainní fosta. Níl a fhios agam go mbeadh achan duine ag aontú leis an seanfhocal "tús maith, leath na hoibre". Tá an tús de dhíth. Agus rudaí faoin reachtaíocht ag dul ar aghaidh, tá dualgas againn uilig maidir le pleanáil teanga. Níl a fhios agam cad a tharlóidh maidir leis na hacmhainní amach anseo.

Faoi choinne Fhoras na Gaeilge, tá an fhreagracht as plé a dhéanamh ar chomh-mhaoiniú ón Tuaisceart ar Shinn Féin. Tá díomá mhór orm nach bhfuil an Fheidhmeannas ar bun i Stormont sa Tuaisceart. Tá achan duine ar an tuairim chéanna. Táimid dóchasach go mbeadh Feidhmeannas ann amach anseo agus go rachadh gnó an Rialtais ar aghaidh i Stormont. B'fhéidir go mbeadh an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh-Theas ag dul ar aghaidh fosta maidir leis an phlé atá de dhíth. Agus é sin ráite, tá an comhrá ag dul ar aghaidh i gcónaí idir mo chuid oifigeach agus na hoifigigh sa Tuaisceart. Chím teachtaireacht an Teachta fosta. Maidir le maoiniú díreach do na ceanneagrais, rinne an Roinn cinneadh maoiniú a chur ar fáil i leith digitiú An Claidheamh Soluis agus chartlann Chonradh na Gaeilge. Beidh maoiniú ar fáil fadúda sin.

Maidir leis an scéim tacaíochta agus an €1.9 milliún, beidh mé sásta dul ar ais chuig an Teachta fadúda an méid atá caite-----

An bhfuil a fhios ag-----

Tá na figiúirí agamsa. Tá €1.299 milliún caite faoi chlár C3. Faoi choinne na n-oileán, tá €679,000 caite.

Le bheith soiléir faoi seo, as €1.9 milliún, níl ach €1.299 milliún caite, agus as an €2.6 milliún do na hoileáin, níl ach €679,000 caite. An bhfuil sé sin ceart? Just le bhfaighfimid na-----

Tá brón orm, an déarfaidh an Teachta é sin arís?

As níos mó ná €4 milliún, tá níos lú ná €2 miliún caite.

Tá leath an airgid caite.

Bheadh muid dóchasach go mbeadh sé caite faoi dheireadh na bliana.

Is é sin an dóchas. Tá mé ag cloisteáil an iomarca faoin dóchas. Feicfimid an éireoidh leis an dóchas.

Dá mbeadh an t-airgead agam, chaithfinn é.

Tá an t-airgead ag an Aire Stáit agus níl ach leath de caite aige.

Ní sé ach mí na Samhna go fóill.

I ndairíre ní chaithfear é as seo go deireadh na bliana.

Tá cúpla seachtaine agam.

Tá tuilleadh oibre le dhéanamh.

Tá an brú orm.

Maidir leis an údarás a bheith ag caint leis na dreamanna atá ag réiteach na pleananna, leithéid í muid féin i gCois Fharraige, tá an tAire Stáit ag cur an tAire, an Teachta Ross, i gcuimhne dom. Bíonn sé i gcónaí ag rá go bhfuil sé ar daoine caint le chéile. Déanann sé dearmad i gcónaí go bhfuil an sparán aige. Ní féidir leis an údarás mórán a dhéanamh ag caint leis na grúpaí mura dtugann an tAire Stáit an sparán dó. Tá nós ag an Rialtas seo ligean air féin nach bhfuil aon bhaint ag ceisteanna airgid leis an méid airgid gur féidir leis na heagraíochtaí seo a dháileadh. An bhfuil sé i gceist ag an Aire Stáit breis airgid a thabhairt don údarás le go mbeidh sé in ann breis airgid a thabhairt do na dreamanna atá ag réiteach na pleananna teanga?

Maidir leis an bhForas Teanga, tá an digitiú agus rudaí mar sin fíor-thábhachtach. Níl mé ag déanamh beag is fiú de sin ar chor ar bith. Bhí sé i gceist forbairt mhór a dhéanamh ar na heagraíochtaí Gaeilge mar chuid den straitéis 20 bliain. An bhfuil an tAire Stáit le Rúnaí Stáit na Breataine a ligean deireadh a chur leis sin? Tá bealach timpeall air sin, is é sin go dtabharfaidh an tAire Stáit an t-airgead ón Roinn díreach go dtí na grúpaí a bhraitheann ar Fhoras na Gaeilge. Ansin is fadhb eile ar fad do lá eile céard a dhéanfaidh Rúnaí Stáit na Breataine. Tá súil agam nach bhfuil an tAire Stáit chun Rúnaí Stáit do Thuaisceart Éireann, James Brokenshire, a ligean srian a chur ar dul chun cinn na Gaeilge in Éirinn.


Tá an Teachta thar ama anois.

Tá cúpla pointe agam ar an phleanáil teanga. Arís, tá plé ag dul ar aghaidh idir an t-údarás agus mo chuid oifigeach faoi láthair.

An bhfuil sé i gceist ag an Aire Stáit breis airgid a thabhairt?

Bhí mé i Jersey an tseachtain seo a chuaigh thart. Bhí plé agam maidir le minority languages, mar shampla Manx ar an Isle of Man agus an teanga atá acu i Guernsey agus Jersey. Níl a fhios agam cén focal Gaeilge atá ar an teanga sin.


An Fhraincis.

No, ní an Fhraincis é. Tá na rialtais ansin ag obair go dian dícheallach ar chaomhnú agus cothú na teanga agus ag bogadh ar aghaidh leis. Bhí daoine ann ó Albain fosta ag caint faoi Gaeilge na hAlban. Tá mé ag dul ar aghaidh leis an phlé idir an Bhreatain Beag, Albain, Guernsey, the Isle of Man agus Éire, agus Tuaisceart Éireann san áireamh. Tá suim mór agam sna rudaí sin. Dá mbeadh breis eolais agam, bheinn sásta leanúint ar aghaidh faoi choinne an chomhrá atá ag dul chun cinn. B'fhéidir go ndéanfainn é sin amach anseo.

Fuair mé féin cuireadh do Lá Tynwald i mbliana.

Oileán Mhanann. Fuair mé cuireadh ó Rialtas an oileáin sin.

An ndeachaigh an Teachta?

Níor dheachaigh. Cén fáth a dtiocfainn? Bhíodar ag déanamh comóradh 70 bliain----

An bhliain seo chugainn?

-----ar roinnt téipeanna a réitíodh ar iarratas gaoil liomsa. Chuaigh sé go dtí an t-oileáin i 1947. Fuair sé amach go raibh cúpla cainteoir dúchasach fanta. Chuir sé Cumann Bhéaloideas Éireann chucu agus rinneadar téipeanna de na cainteoirí deireanacha. Murach é sin, ní fhéadfaí aon athbheochan a dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge in Oileán Mhanann.

Tá sin suimiúil.


Tá sin an-suimiúil ar fad gan dabht. Tá cúpla ceisteanna agam mar gheall ar gach rud. Sa chéad dréacht de cheannteidil an Bhille, bhí comharthaí bóithre tógtha san áireamh. Níl siad san áireamh anois. Bhí mé ag caint leis an Aire, an Teachta Ross, faoi. Dúirt sé nach raibh a fhios aige nach raibh siad tógtha san áireamh ach nach raibh sé pléite aige go díreach. B'fhéidir go bhfuil sé pléite ag oifigigh sa Roinn sin agus go bhfuil siad ag cur baic ar an phróiseas. De réir an Aire, an Teachta Ross, féin, níl fadhb ar bith aige leis an chló a bheith ar chomhchéim ar chomarthaí bóithre as seo amach. Impím ar oifigigh na Roinne dul ar ais go dtí an Roinn sin, gan bhacadh leis na daoine a bhí ag cur baic ar an rud, agus dul díreach go dtí an tAire, mar dúirt sé liom go mbeadh sé oscailte dóibh. Tá a fhios agam nuair a raibh an Taoiseach sa Roinn sin go raibh sé oscailte don mholadh. Ag an am sin bhí an Roinn ina choinne. Dúirt an Teachta Varadkar leo gur cheart féachaint air agus triail a bhaint as i pilot éigin. Ceapaim go mbeadh doras an Aire, an Teachta Ross, oscailte don Roinn ar an ábhar sin.

Ta brón orm cur isteach ar an Chathaoirleach. Beidh mé sásta cruinniú a shocrú le m'oifigigh fadúda sin.


Is é Údarás na Gaeltachta an t-aon eagraíocht fhorbairt fiontair a fuair an méid sin gearrtha siar ar a chuid buiséid. Ní bhfuair an IDA nó Enterprise Ireland an méid sin gearrtha siar ar chor ar bith. Is léir gur féidir le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta i bhfad níos mó a dhéanamh mar gheall ar chúrsaí fostaíochta sa Ghaeltacht. Rinne mé féin agus an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh camchuairt ar na Gaeltachtaí thar timpeall na tíre. Is léir go bhfuil scéal difriúil ó gach ceann dóibh. Tá cinn dóibh lonnaithe in aice le bailte móra agus cathracha agus níl fadhb acu mar gheall ar chúrsaí fiontair agus fostaíochta. Tá siad ag maireachtáil ceart go leor. Tá go leor acu, go háirithe iad siúd atá ar imeall sna háiteanna iargúlta, atá thíos go huafásach mar gheall ar chúrsaí fostaíochta. Tá an dream óg imithe go huile agus go hiomlán. Tá cúpla ceann dóibh atá ag crochadh ar snáithe amháin. Tá siad i bponc. Ba cheart go mbeadh Údarás na Gaeltachta ar chomhchéim leis na heagraíochtaí eile mar gheall ar a chuid dhualgais fiontair. Ba cheart go mbeadh siad ceangailte lena chéile mar gheall ar an ábhar sin.

Tá rud eile le rá agam faoi Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tá pinsin na ndaoine atá éirithe as a gcuid oibre in Údarás na Gaeltachta íoctha as buiséad an údaráis. Ní hé sin an gnáthscéal in eagraíochtaí Stáit ar chor ar bith. De ghnáth bíonn na pinsin íoctha go lárnach ón Roinn. Tá muidne tar éis labhairt le daoine san údarás a deireann é seo arís agus arís eile. Má tá scéal ann atá difriúil, tá sé istigh in Údarás na Gaeltachta. Caithfidh sé a chuid buiséid a úsáid chun íoc as na pinsin. B'fhéidir go bhfuil sampla nó dó eile, ach ní hé sin an gnáthscéal atá ann. B'fhéidir go dtosnóimid ar an dá ceisteanna sin faoin údarás.

Bhí aistear ag an Chathaoirleach nuair a raibh sé i dTír Chonaill, Gaillimh, Ciarraí agus na contaetha eile ina bhfuil Gaeltachtaí.


Ní thugamar faoi deara cé mhéad kilometres a rinne muid.

Tá rudaí dearfacha ag dul ar aghaidh sna Gaeltachtaí fosta. Tá daoine ag iarraidh freagraí ar cheisteanna, eolais agus sonraí fadúda rudaí difriúla tríd an bhealach polaitiúla. Agus é sin ráite, tá tionchar ollmhór sna ceantair Gaeltachta. Mar shampla, sa Rinn i gContae Phort Láirge, bhí comhlacht gloine ag obair ar bhronntanas do Donald Trump. Ag tús na bliana, thug an Teachta Enda Kenny bronntanas ó cheantar Gaeltachta do Donald Trump - crystal vase nó rud mar sin. Níl an focal Gaeilge faoi choinne crystal vase ar eolas agam. I nGallimh, ceantar an Teachta Ó Cuív, tá an comhlacht HID Global ann. I mo cheantar féin, tá Rapid Action Packaging ann. Tá cuid mhór infheistíochta ag dul isteach. Rinne mé cinneadh i mí Lúnasa €1.5 milliún breise a thabhairt don údarás. Tá spás mór ann agus tá deiseanna faoi choinne fostaíochta breise a fháil ann fosta. D'fhógair Údarás na Gaeltachta go bhfuil comhlacht ag dul ar aghaidh sna Dúnaibh, mo pháróiste féin. Beidh 18 post ann thar trí bliana. Tá rudaí dearfacha ag dul ar aghaidh. Tá an ceart ag an Chathaoirleach maidir leis an laghdú. Bhí €26 milliún ar fáil in 2006 nó 2007 agus beidh €7 milliún nó €8 milliún i mbliana.


Samhlaigh dá mbeadh an méid sin gearrtha siar ag Enterprise Ireland nó an IDA. Samhlaigh ar feadh soicind amháin an saghas uafáis a bheadh ar mhuintir na tíre dá mbeadh an cic céanna faighte ag an IDA. Ní sheasfadh daoine leis ach tharla sé don eagraíocht atá i mbun fhorbairt fostaíochta sa Ghaeltacht.

In 2012 nó 2011, bhí Údarás na Gaeltachta faoi bhrú. Bhí cinneadh suntasach ar dheasc Dinny McGinley ag an am. Tá 80 daoine lonnaithe in, agus ag obair ar son, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus bhí an dream sin faoi bhrú ag an am. Tá méadú ag dul ar aghaidh anois. Nuair a tháinig mise isteach don chéad uair in 2014, stop mise an laghdú. Anois tá díospóireacht idir achan Teachta Dála de dhíth fadúda an bealach ceart. Tá comhaontú idir Fianna Fáil agus Fine Gael fadúda infheistíocht, infreastruchtúr agus caipiteal faoi choinne Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Níor chuala mise faoi agus tá mise mar urlabhraí Gaeltachta.

Nach raibh a fhios ag an Teachta?

An t-aon rud atá ann sa gcomhaontú ná go mbeadh breis infheistíochta don Ghaeilge. Níl sé ann agus níor cuireadh ann é ó tháinig an Rialtas i bhfeidhm. Sin an méid atá ann agus níl sé ag tarlú.

Níl an comhaontú críochnaithe go fóill.

Is gearr a bheidh.

Is comhaontú trí bliana é. B'fhéidir go mbeidh rudaí suntasacha ag tarlú an bhliain seo chugainn.

Ní shin a bhí i gceist.


Ba chóir go labhródh na Teachtaí tríd an Chathaoir. Is liomsa an cheist. Tá an méid atá ráite ag an Aire Stáit ar eolas agam, ach ní bhainfidh an Rialtas amach an buiséad a bhí ann in 2007 roimh 2035. Ag an luas atá an Rialtas ag dul mar gheall ar an údarás, tógfaidh sé an méid sin ama. Tá go leor eile a bhfuil mé ag iarraidh labhairt faoi.

Tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil cúrsaí oideachais go díreach faoin Aire Stáit ach tá tionchar ollmhór ag cúrsaí oideachais sa Ghaeltacht. Bhí mise i meánscoil amháin atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht. Bhí 14 múinteoir ag obair ann. Ní raibh Gaeilge líofa ach ag ceathrar dóibh. Bhí mé ag caint le scoil eile a bhí ag iarraidh múinteora. Chuir siad amach iarratas agus cuireadh 70 daoine ar an phainéal. Ní raibh Gaeilge líofa ag ceann amháin dóibh. Bhí orthu an dlí a bhriseadh chun múinteoir a fháil. Bhí mé ag caint le fear i mbunscoil i bPort Láirge agus bhí an fhadhb chéanna aige. Bhí air seasamh amach as an chóras mar gheall ar chúrsaí oideachais. Dúirt fear liom gur tháinig múinteoir nua sa rang. Dúirt an múinteoir sin "tar anseo" le páiste. Chuaigh an páiste chuige agus dúirt an múinteoir leis "no, that means go away from me". Tá caighdeán Gaeilge na múinteoirí atá ag teacht amach as an chóras oideachais uafásach íseal. Ní mise amháin atá ag rá é sin. Admhaíonn an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna é sin. Tá tuairisc scríofa agus foilsithe aici a dhíríonn isteach ar fhadhb an easpa Gaeilge atá ag múinteoirí i ngach aon chearn den tír, ach go háirithe sa Ghaeltacht.

Chun é sin a athrú, caithfear dhá nó trí rud a dhéanamh. Más múinteoir duine sa Ghaeltacht ag an bhomaite atá ag iarraidh ullmhú don lá scoile dar gcionn agus ag iarraidh acmhainní a fháil, téann sé nó sí ar Google chun rud a fháil. Bíonn air nó uirthi iad a aistriú agus i bhfad níos mó oibre a dhéanamh chun bheith réidh le haghaidh na scoile. Níl na daoine le Gaeilge ag dul isteach sna scoileanna Gaeltachta. Tá múinteoirí sa Ghaeltacht anois ag fáil liúntais Gaeltachta atá ag múineadh i scoileanna lán-Bhéarla. Tá múinteoirí sa Ghaeltacht ag múineadh i scoileanna Gaeilge nach bhfuil ag fáil liúntais mar gheall ar mhúineadh sa Ghaeltacht. Tá sé ina phraiseach iomlán agus caithfidh go mbeadh buntaiste ag baint le múineadh sna Gaelscoileanna agus sa Ghaeltacht.

Tá mic léinn sa cheathrú bliain ag teacht amach as na hollscoileanna agus níl aon Ghaeilge déanta acu ar chor ar bith sa bhliain dheireanach. Tá siad ag dul b'fhéidir 18 mí gan Gaeilge a labhairt le héinne, staidéar a dhéanamh uirthi nó í a scríobh. Téann siad díreach isteach sa scoil agus caithfidh siad an Ghaeilge a úsáid ar an chéad dul síos. Tá Gaelscoileanna ann agus tá meánscoileanna ann ach caithfidh go mbeadh ollscoil ann. Admhaím go bhfuil acadaimh amuigh i nDún na Gall agus sa Cheathrú Rua agus tá rudaí beaga déanta anseo agus ansiúd. Chuala mé nach bhfuil mic léinn ag iarraidh dul amach ann mar tá siad ag iarraidh taithí an champais a fháil. Caithfidh go mbeadh an Rialtas ag díriú isteach ar ollscoil lan-Ghaeilge agus go mbeadh múinteoirí ag déanamh gach cuid dá gcéimeanna i nGaeilge. Níl muid ag cruthú múinteoirí le Gaeilge chuí ar chor ar bith. Is fáinne fí é. Titeann caighdeán Gaeilge an chéad ghlúin eile agus téann sé ar aghaidh arís agus arís eile. I go leor Gaeltachtaí, tá comhlacht nó coláiste samhraidh amháin ann, tá scoil ann agus tá craobh den Chumann Lúthchleas Gael ann. Tá an Ghaeltacht go hiomlán ag brath ar na trí nasc sin. Tá an scoil ag lagú arís agus arís eile. Tá mórámh de na naíonraí sa Ghaeltacht ag feidhmiú trí Bhéarla. Tá sé sin dochreidte ar fad. Níl aon bhaint ag an Ghaeilge leis an réamhscolaíocht anois. Má théann páistí do réamhscoil nuair atá siad trí nó ceithre bliana d'aois, níl aon bhaint go hoifigiúil ag an nGaeilge leis an oideachas sin ar chor ar bith. Is mór an fhadhb í.

Faoi dheireadh, ba mhaith liom na pleananna teanga a ardú. Tá mé tar éis é a rá arís agus arís eile. Bhí mé den tuairim go dtiocfadh athrú meoin ar an Aire Stáit mar gheall ar an méid airgid gur cheart dó a chur isteach san earnáil seo sa bhuiséad. Bhí díomá orm nár tharlaigh sé. Tá rudaí dearfacha ag titim amach sna Gaeltachtaí, cinnte, ach i mBaile Bhuirne tá 6% de na páistí ag teacht ó tithe le Gaeilge ón chliabhán. Sa Rinn, tagann 4% de na páistí ó tithe le Gaeilge. Is iad sin na figiúirí atá ag teacht ó na pobail féin nuair atá siad ag ullmhú na pleananna sin. Sin an méid atá ann agus tá sé an-íseal. Tá rudaí dearfacha ag titim amach ach caithfimid féachaint ar na dúshláin ollmhóra atá ann freisin.

Tá an tionchar is mó i leith na teanga ag na ceantair is láidre sa Ghaeltacht ar nós Cois Fharraige, Gaoth Dobhair agus ceantair mar sin. Tá an tionchar is mó acu sin agus ag na bunscoileanna, réamhscoileanna agus meánscoileanna. Gabhaim m'aitheantas d'achan duine sna ceantair Gaeilge as an teanga a bhogadh chun tosaigh agus í a chaomhnú agus a chothú. É sin ráite, tá cupla ceantair lag sa Ghaeltacht fosta. Is é sin an fáth a rinne mé cinneadh maidir le tumoideachas sna bunscoileanna cúpla bliain ó shin agus mé ag obair ar an pholasaí oideachais. Tá spriocanna agam i leith caighdeán Gaeilge na múinteoirí scoile, tacaíocht faoi choinne na tuismitheoirí, na tacaíochtaí éagsúla, agus an ceangal atá ag na nithe sin leis an phleanáil teanga.

É sin ráite fosta, tá cuid mhór rudaí dearfacha ag dul ar aghaidh taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht fosta, contae an Chathaoirligh féin san áireamh. Bhí mé i cúpla bunscoileanna in Ashbourne cúpla seachtain ó shin. Tá an caighdeán Gaeilge sa Ghaelscoil ansin dochreidte. Tá sampla eile in Swords. Dá rabhthas ag féachaint ar TG4 aréir, bhí daoine ag déanamh agallaimh i gceantar Leitir Ceannain. Ní raibh siad ag dul go dtí an Ghaelscoil. Bhí siad i Loreto Leitir Ceannain. Tá na daltaí ansin líofa. Tá an caighdeán thar barr. Tá rudaí éagsúla dearfacha ag dul ar aghaidh istigh sa Ghaeltacht agus taobh amuigh de. Aontaím le tuairim an Chathaoirligh maidir leis an chaighdeán i roinnt de na bunscoileanna agus meánscoileanna sa Ghaeltacht. Is é sin an fáth a rinne mé an cinneadh maidir leis an pholasaí oideachais cupla bliain ó shin. Tá sé sin tábhachtach. Tá an caighdeán agus na hacmhainní sna hollscoileanna de dhíth. Bhí an Cathaoirleach ag caint faoi na hollscoileanna sa Cheathrú Rua i nGaillimh agus i nGaoth Dobhair. Tá siad tábhachtach agus dearfach. Tá sé thar a bheith tábhachtach go bhfuil ollscoileanna lonnaithe sna ceantair iargúlta.

Ba mhaith liom dul ar ais go dtí an córas seo. Tá sé thar a bheith tábhachtach ó thaobh an chaighdeán agus na n-acmhainní. Chun go mbeadh daoine ábalta Gaeilge a labhairt, tá spreagadh de dhíth sna réamhscoileanna, bunscoileanna agus meánscoileanna. Tá obair na tuismitheoirí sa teach tábhachtach fosta. Dá mbeadh aon chuidiú ag teastáil ó thuismitheoirí cuidiú a thabhairt chuig a bpáistí i leith an obair bhaile, tá mise agus mo chuid oifigeach sásta é a thabhairt.