My Department's role in relation to Irish extends right across the Culture Division and the Gaeltacht Division as well as to a number of agencies including the Arts Council and Udaras na Gaeltachta. My Department itself funds two important national organisations to provide Irish language theatre experiences.
- The National Irish language theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe is funded by directly by my Department. Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe promotes the Irish language through plays, workshops and exhibitions. It is in receipt of an annual operational grant of €320,00 to support the delivery of the theatre’s work programme.
- The National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tire will receive funding of €310,000 my Department in 2018. Siamsa Tire is headquartered in Tralee and has two subsidiary "Tithe Siamsa" in Finuge and Carraig (Dingle). It brings to life Irish folklore through music, song and dance. Its own productions are delivered over five months in summer and are delivered almost exclusively through the Irish language sung rather than spoken.
- In relation to other funded theatres, including the Abbey Theatre, these are supported by the Arts Council and my Department does not have a direct role in relation to them. I am aware that a number of theatrical organisations actively include the use of Irish language in their work.
- I note that the Abbey Theatre in its mission statement makes a commitment "to lead in the telling of the whole Irish story, in English and in Irish" and it affirms "that the Abbey is a theatre for the entire island of Ireland and for all its people."
- Applications for Arts Council funding schemes are open to applicants through the medium of Irish and English and the Council operates funding schemes based around the Irish language including literature as well as funding artists and organisations in Gaeltacht areas under the Ealaín na Gaeltachta scheme.
- In December last year, the Taoiseach launched the Bliain na Gaeilge programme a major celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the start of the Irish language revival movement in 2018 in which people with all levels of Irish are invited participate. Events will be organised around five key themes - the revival of the language over the last 125 years; the creativity of the language; the vibrancy of the language; the participation of the community and the value of the Gaeltacht.
- I will be encouraging all bodies under the aegis of my Department to promote Irish during Bliain na Gaeilge, including as part of the Creative Ireland Programme.