I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 57, 59, 71, 92, 94, 98, 99 and 189 together.
We have already discussed issues regarding the development of the 20 year strategy on the Irish language in my reply to Question No. 52. It was envisaged at the time of the publication of the Government statement that it would take up to two years for the strategy to be prepared. I am confident this target will be achieved and that the strategy will be completed by December 2008.
A report was published recently on the linguistic study on the use of Irish in the Gaeltacht. This report was presented to the Government and a decision was made to establish a Cabinet committee to consider matters arising from the analysis and recommendations of the report, and to agree an integrated action plan to secure the future of Irish as the community language in the Gaeltacht. It will be my intention to ensure that these processes will proceed in tandem. In the interim, my Department will continue to operate a range of schemes and initiatives, in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge and Údarás na Gaeltachta, to support the Irish language in the Gaeltacht and in the wider community.
Fóram na Gaeilge continues to have an role in advising me on the proposed strategy. At a meeting that I had with the fóram on 5 March 2007, it was agreed to establish a sub-committee of the fóram to function as a link with my Department in the preparation of the strategy. This sub-committee met in May 2007 and again in early November. A further meeting has been scheduled for later this month. Among the matters considered was the appointment of consultants to assist my Department in preparing the strategy. I expect that a person will, in the near future, be assigned in my Department to assist in this work on a dedicated basis. During the course of 2007, my Department has been engaged in a public procurement process for the appointment of consultants to advise on the strategy. This process is nearing completion and I expect that consultants will be appointed by the end of this year. It is intended that the public will be consulted during preparation of the strategy, as public support for the process will be vital. With regard to the sum of €300,000 that has been earmarked to cover costs associated with the strategy's preparation, those costs will occur mainly in 2008.
The Government remains fully committed to providing every support to parents who wish to raise their children through the medium of Irish. The issue of the national curriculum and immersion education for Gaelscoileanna is one for my colleague, the Minister for Education and Science.