Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (112)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

193 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress that has been made with regard to the examination by his Department of the report of the working group on the creation of employment in the Gaeltacht; if the Government is committed to implementing the recommendations made by the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3097/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

As outlined in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 56 of 27 November 2003, my Department, in partnership with Údarás na Gaeltachta, is continuing to actively progress the recommendations of the working group on the creation of employment in the Gaeltacht.

Arising from the working group's report, Údarás na Gaeltachta has formulated an action plan to tackle the significant unemployment problem in the north west Donegal Gaeltacht. A key objective of the plan is to approve 200 jobs per annum for the Gaoth Dobhair area, with the aim of achieving peak employment again in five years time.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that, according to Údarás na Gaeltachta, 185 new jobs have been created and 274 new jobs have been approved for the Gaoth Dobhair business park since the action plan was launched over a year ago.

A further positive development is the provision by National University of Ireland, Galway, of third level educational courses through the medium of Irish in Gaoth Dobhair with Údarás support.

In progressing other recommendations contained in the report, an tÚdarás, in co-operation with my Department and other relevant agencies, is continuing to develop and upgrade the telecommunications and physical infrastructure of Gaeltacht areas. In addition, new training and educational initiatives are being promoted in order to assist up-skilling and retraining of the labour market.

A greater emphasis is also being placed on the natural resources of the Gaeltacht and, in this connection, I should mention the scheme Fiontraíocht Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht, which was introduced by an tÚdarás last year and supports the recommendations of the working group with regard to the Irish language.