Project Ireland 2040

Ceisteanna (17)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

17. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén aighneacht a rinne sí maidir leis an gcreat pleanála náisiúnta, Tionscadal 2040, agus an plean forbartha náisiúnta, Tionscadal 2040, do na ceantair Ghaeltachta agus do na hoileáin; an bhfuil sí sásta leis na forálacha sa chreat agus sa phlean forbartha naisiúnta maidir leis an nGaeltacht agus na hoileáin; an bhfuil ceist curtha aici maidir leis an easpa leagan Gaeilge den dá phlean a bheith ar fáil ar an lá a foilsíodh iad; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [10192/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (8 contributions) (Ceist ar Culture)

Ba mhaith liom fios a fháil ón Aire ar cén aighneacht a rinne sí maidir leis an gcreat pleanála náisiúnta agus an plean forbartha náisiúnta go dtí 2040. Chomh maith leis sin, an ndearna sí aon ghearán maidir leis an sárú dlí a bhí i gceist gan leagan Gaeilge a bheith ar fáil ag an am céanna leis an leagan Béarla?

Mar is eol don Teachta, d’fhógair an Rialtas an tseachtain seo imithe thart go mbeadh €178 milliún in airgead caipitil ar fáil le caitheamh ar thograí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus oileánda as seo go ceann deich mbliana mar chuid den phlean forbartha náisiúnta. Anuas air sin, tá aitheantas láidir tugtha don phróiseas pleanála teanga atá ar bun faoi fhorálacha Acht na Gaeltachta 2012 sa chreat náisiúnta pleanála agus é mar sprioc náisiúnta pholasaí go dtacófar le cur i bhfeidhm an phróisis sin.

Leagtar amach sa phlean cuspóiri an Rialtais maidir le hinfheistíocht i gcultúr, i dteanga agus in oidhreacht na hÉireann ós rud é go n-aithnítear go bhfuil bonneagar ardchaighdeáin an-tábhachtach le go mbeidh cultúr láidir, bisiúil ann a bhfuil an Ghaeilge, an Ghaeltacht agus na hoileáin mar chuid lárnach agus sainiúil de, ar ndóigh. San áireamh mar chuid den phlean, tá gealltanas go méadófar buiséad caipitil Údarás na Gaeltachta go €12 milliún in aghaidh na bliana agus go gcuirfear airgead breise isteach sa chlár tacaíochtaí pobail agus teanga atá á riar ag mo Roinn mar thaca breise don phróiseas pleanála teanga sa Ghaeltacht.

Sa chomhthéacs sin, ní miste a nótáil chomh maith go bhfuil buiséad na Roinne don phleanáil teanga méadaithe ó €1.25 milliún anuraidh go dtí €2.65 milliún i mbliana, rud a fhágann go bhfuil ardú bliain i ndiaidh bliana curtha ar fáil chun tacú le feidhmiú an phróisis ó thosaigh sé in 2014. Ina theannta sin, tugtar gealltanas sa phlean go bhforbrófar ionaid Ghaeilge agus chultúir i líonraí Gaeilge agus i mbailte seirbhíse Gaeltachta atá mar chuid thábhachtach den phróiseas pleanála teanga. Tá i gceist faoin bplean chomh maith go bhforbrófar lárionad Gaeilge agus cultúir i gcathair Bhaile Átha Cliath. Cinnteoidh an infheistíocht seo go ndéanfar tuilleadh treisithe ar an Ghaeilge ar bhonn náisiúnta agus go ndéanfar é sin tríd an bpróiseas pleanála teanga atá ag croílár na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge.

Eolas breise nár tugadh ar úrlár an Tí

Lena chois sin, tá beartaithe go ndéanfar tuilleadh forbartha ar bhonneagar oileánda, go háirithe ar Inis Oírr agus Inis Meáin chomh maith le forbairt ar an gcé ag Machaire Rabhartaigh agus ar bhád farantóireachta nua le go mbeidh freastal níos fearr déanta ar Thóraí.

Is sa bhreis ar an réimse leathan clár, scéimeanna agus tionscnamh atá idir lámha ag mo Roinn cheana féin, i gcomhar le forais ábhartha eile Stáit, a bheidh an plean infheistíochta caipitil seo á chur i bhfeidhm, ar ndóigh, ar leas phobal na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na n-oileán araon. Táim sásta, dá réir, lena bhfuil sa phlean agus sa chreat mar a bhaineann sé leis an Ghaeilge, an Ghaeltacht agus na hoileáin.

Is ceist don Roinn Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil í foilsiú an dá cháipéis seo. É sin ráite, tuigfidh an Teachta go bhfuil Bille á dhréachtú faoi láthair agus a bheidh á fhoilsiú le linn an téarma seo, a dhéanfaidh treisiú ar fhorálacha Acht na dTeanga Oifigiúla 2003.

Sa mbliain 2008 bhí ollcaiteachas vótála ag an Stát de bheagnach €62 billiún. Sa mbliain 2018 beidh an ollcaiteachas mórán mar a chéile agus é beagnach €62 billiún. An difríocht atá ann ná an difríocht ó thaobh caiteachas caipitil ar an nGaeltacht, ar na hoileáin agus ar Údarás na Gaeltachta. Chaith an Rialtas €71 milliún sa mbliain 2008. I mbliana, áfach, caithfidh an Rialtas €10 milliún - an seachtú cuid. Tá an tAire Stáit ag déanamh gaisce inniu as €107 milliún a chaitheamh as seo go dtí 2027. Nach gceapann an tAire Stáit gur laghdú ollmhór caiteachais é sin ar an nGaeltacht? An bhfuil casadh déanta ag an Aire Stáit leis an Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe maidir leis an easpa tacaíochta agus tosaíochta atá á thabhairt don Ghaeltacht, do na hoileáin agus don Ghaeilge ó thaobh chaiteachas an Rialtais de?

Tabharfaidh mé freagra sciobtha. Bhí laghdú ollmhór thar na blianta a chuaigh thart ó 2008 go 2014 maidir leis an airgead a bhí ar fáil fá choinne na rudaí caipitil i Roinn na Gaeltachta. Tháinig suas go €10 milliún isteach i mbliana agus beimid ag dul ó chéim go céim le linn na deich mbliana go dtí €17 milliún fá choinne an caipiteal amach anseo. Tá difear mór ann anois ach an rud is mó maidir leis an bplean deich mbliana ná go bhfuil mé ag cur ar fáil airgid agus tacaíochta fá choinne staidéar féidearthachtaí i gceantair Ghaeltachta éagsúla i gContae na Gaillimhe, i gContae Dhún na nGall agus i gContae Chiarraí, mar shampla. B'fhéidir go bhfuil togra ar intinn an Teachta féin maidir leis na ceantair agus beidh ról lárnach ag na daoine a bheidh ag obair ar an bpleanáil teanga maidir le tograí a bhaint amach. Beidh seans ansin. An difear is mó ná an plean a chur le chéile. Bhí cruinniú dearfa ag an Aire sinsearach, an Teachta Josepha Madigan, agus mo chuid oifigigh an tseachtain a chuaigh thart maidir leis an phlean a chur le chéile amach anseo agus laistigh de cúig bliana nó deich mbliana. Beidh sé níos fearr dá réir.

An ndearna an tAire Stáit gearán nár foilsíodh an leagan Gaeilge den phlean ag an am céanna leis an leagan Béarla? An bhféadfadh an tAire Stáit a mhíniú cén fáth nach bhfuil aon tagairt ar chor ar bith sa gcreat pleanála náisiúnta maidir le pleanáil fisiciúil sa Ghaeltach. Cad faoin dochar a dhéanfaidh na pleananna atá i gceist maidir le tithíocht aonair agus an srian a chuirfear air sin ar fhorbairt agus ar fhás na Gaeltachta? Chomh maith leis sin, cén fáth nach bhfuil aon phlean le cosaint a thabhairt don Ghaeltacht is láidre sa tír - an ceann i nGaillimh - de bharr an brú a thiocfaidh air mar gheall ar mhéadú cathair na Gaillimhe? Níl tagairt ar bith don chontúirt a bhaineann leis sin. An bhféadfadh an tAire Stáit, atá freagrach as an nGaeltacht, cén fáth nach ndearna sé cosaint níos fearr ar an nGaeilge agus ar an nGaeltacht sa gcás seo?

Bhí cúpla ceist ansin. Bhain ceann amháin dóibh leis an leagan Gaeilge ag an lainseáil cúpla seachtain ó shin. Is ceist don Roinn Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil í foilsiú an cháipéis seo. É sin ráite, tuigfidh an Teachta go bhfuil Bille á dhréachtú faoi láthair agus a bheidh á fhoilsiú le linn an téarma seo a dhéanfaidh treisiú ar fhorálacha Acht na dTeanga Oifigiúla 2003. Tuigim go mbeidh lainseáil na Roinne Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta amárach curtha ar ceal ach beidh an leagan Béarla ar fáil.

An leagan Béarla-----

Bhain an dara ceist leis an ngealltanas don teanga agus do na dreamanna a bheidh lonnaithe sna Gaeltachtaí is láidre sa tír, cibé é sin an Ghaeltacht i nGaillimh nó i dTír Chonaill. An cloch is mó ar mo phaidrín an chéad lá a tháinig mé isteach sa phost seo ná an pleanáil teanga. Cibé Cois Farraige, Machaire Rabhartaigh, Gaoth Dobhair nó Rann na Feirste atá ag déanamh an phlean fá dtaobh den obair chaipitil sa cheantar, beidh an t-airgead agus an tacaíocht ar fáil.

Cistiúchán Roinne

Ceisteanna (18)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

18. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Peadar Tóibín den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil sí sásta leis an méid maoinithe a fuair sí don Ghaeilge sa bhuiséad deireanach; cén próiseas a bhí i gceist chun an maoiniú sin a éileamh; an bhfuil sí sásta go bhfuil an Rialtas ag éisteacht le mianta phobal na Gaeilge; an bhfuil sí chun breis maoinithe a iarraidh más rud é nach bhfuarthas ach leath dá bhfuil ag teastáil dar lena Roinn féin; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [10379/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (13 contributions) (Ceist ar Culture)

Is iontach an rud é gur tháinig an tAire Stáit ar sledge ó Dhún na nGall inniu. Tá sneachta anseo ach is lá breá earraigh é i nDún na nGall. Sa ghéarchéim, ní raibh gearradh siar níos mó ar aon earnáil eile sa tír ná an gearradh siar a tharla san earnáil Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta agus é seo in ainneoin go bhfuil an Ghaeilge faoi bhrú uafásach sa tír seo. Cén fáth nach bhfuil an tAire in ann seasamh suas dá cúinne agus dá buiséad ag bord an Rialtais?

Mar Aire Stáit dár dteanga dhúchais, dár gceantair Ghaeltachta agus dár n-oileáin, chuir mé fáilte roimh an maoiniú breise de thart ar €2 milliún a cuireadh ar fáil dom i gcáinaisnéis 2018. San áireamh san allúntas a fuarthas don bhliain seo tá €1.4 milliún breise chun tacú leis an phróiseas pleanála teanga faoin Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge, €400,000 de mhaoiniú breise d’Údarás na Gaeltachta chun infheistiú ina chláir caipitil agus chun tacaí a mhéadú do chomharchumainn agus d’eagraíochtaí forbartha pobail na Gaeltachta, rud a fhágann go bhfuil an maoiniú caipitil don Údarás méadaithe go €7 milliún, agus leithdháileadh breise de €687,000 do scéimeanna tacaíochta teanga na Roinne lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht.

San áireamh i mbuiséad na bliana seo fosta, tá suim shuntasach de €14.028 milliún le cur ar fáil don Fhoras Teanga, a chuimsíonn Foras na Gaeilge agus Gníomhaireacht na hUltaise, agus maoiniú €450,000 do Bhliain na Gaeilge 2018 san áireamh.

Ar ndóigh, ar nós achan Roinn agus achan Aire, bím ag lorg níos mó acmhainní chun cur leis an obair fhiúntach atá ar bun againn sa Roinn. Déantar é seo trí plé agus comhráití leanúnach leis an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe agus is mar sin a bheidh sé arís i mbliana agus muid ag obair i dtreo bhuiséad 2019.

Níor mhiste a nótáil gur fhógair an Rialtas an tseachtain seo caite go mbeadh €178 milliún in airgead caipitil ar fáil le caitheamh ar thograí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus oileánda as seo go ceann 10 mbliana. Sin €78 milliún in airgead úr anuas ar an suim de níos mó ná €10 milliún atá á chaitheamh ar na nithe céanna in 2018. San áireamh sa phlean forbartha náisiúnta, tá gealltanas go méadófar buiséad caipitil Údarás na Gaeltachta go €12 milliún in aghaidh na bliana agus go gcuirfear airgead breise isteach sna scéimeanna caipitil Ghaeltachta atá á riar ag an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta chomh maith, cur chuige a thacóidh le pobail Ghaeltachta a gcuid pleananna teanga a chur i bhfeidhm.

Eolas breise nár tugadh ar úrlár an Tí

Sa chomhthéacs sin, ní mór a nótáil chomh maith go bhfuil buiséad reatha na Roinne don phleanáil teanga méadaithe ó €1.25 milliún anuraidh go dtí €2.65 milliún i mbliana. Tá maoiniú bliantúil curtha ar fáil ag an Rialtas don phróiseas pleanála teanga gach bliain ón mbliain 2014, agus tá ardú tagtha ar leibhéil an mhaoinithe sin gach bliain.

Is léir uaidh seo uile go bhfuil na figiúirí ag dul sa treo ceart agus iad ag méadú anois gach uile bhliain.

Is í an fhadhb atá agam ná gur chuir an tAire Stáit fáilte arís roimh an méid airgid a fuair sé sa cháinaisnéis in ainneoin go bhfuair an Roinn níos lú ná leath den mhéid mhaoinithe a bhí á lorg. I mí Dheireadh Fómhair, dúirt an tAire Stáit go raibh an Rialtas dírithe ar theacht leis an tiomantas dár gcultúr atá le feiceáil i mórán de na heagraíochtaí díograiseacha atá ar fud an Stáit. Dúirt sé go raibh aitheantas tugtha don obair chruaidh seo sa cháinaisnéis ach leath-aitheantais atá ann, ar ndóigh, de réir critéir an Aire Stáit féin. D'aithin an Roinn go raibh €5 milliún de dhíth leis na spriocanna ó thaobh na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta a bhaint amach. Ní bhfuair an Roinn ach €1.9 milliún ag an deireadh. Cé a rinne an cinneadh seo? Is léir nach bhfuil an tAire Stáit nó an tAire sinsearach ag fáil éisteacht ar chor ar bith ag bord an Rialtais maidir leis seo. Conas is féidir leis an tAire Stáít teacht isteach anseo inniu agus fáilte a chur roimh an méid airgid sin nuair nach bhfuil ann ach 40% den mhéid airgid a bhí ag teastáil ón Roinn?

I gcónaí bíonn ceisteanna sa Teach seo maidir le hairgead breise, maidir le deontais bhreise agus maidir le tacaíocht ón Rialtas. Tá an díospóireacht sin tábhachtach maidir le brú a chur ar an Rialtas ó thaobh infheistíochta de agus aontaím leis. É sin ráite, ní bheidh seans agam sa Teach seo labhairt faoi aon phlean nó faoi aon ghníomhaíocht sa bhealach a bheidh ag Teachtaí eile chun labhairt fúthu. Tóg, mar shampla, an ceangal idir na bailte seirbhísí, na comharchumainn atá ag obair ar an bpleanáil teanga sna ceantair Ghaeltachta nó na líonraí Gaeltachta. D'fhéadfadh an díospóireacht a bhíonn ag dul ar aghaidh sa Teach seo a bheith ag dul ar aghaidh taobh amuigh den Teach. Tá athbheochan ollmhór ag dul ar aghaidh maidir leis an teanga. Mar is eol don Teachta, bhí lainseáil agus ócáid thar a bheith dearfach i bPáirc Uí Chrócaigh an tseachtain a chuaigh thart maidir leis na líonraí Gaeltachta i nGallimh, i gCluain Dolcáin agus sa Tuaisceart.

Tá seans againn aitheantas a thabhairt do na dreamanna a bheidh ag bogadh ar aghaidh leis an teanga. Tá an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta fite fuaite ann. Ní teanga cumarsáide amháin í an Ghaeilge. Is croílár na hoidhreachta agus an chultúir í fosta.

Leis an fhírinne a rá, is í an Ghaeilge an col ceathrar bocht ó thaobh an Rialtais de. Tá an Ghaeilge agus an tAire Stáit, Teachta McHugh, ag bun an dréimire gach uair. Tá sé dochreidte. Tá an tAire Stáit cosúil le Comical Ali mar gheall ar an Ghaeilge. Tá titim 11% tar éis teacht ar an méid daoine atá ag labhairt an Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht. Sin an slat tomhais is tábhachtaí mar gheall ar dhul chun cinn chur chuige an Rialtais. Tharla titim 11% agus tá an tAire Stáit ag teacht isteach anseo ag rá go bhfuil athbheochan ag teacht ar an rud. Tá an Ghaeilge ag dul i léig sna Gaeltachtaí - an áit is tábhachtaí.

Ba chóir don Aire Stáit breathnú ar rud éigin eile. Dúirt an Rialtas freisin go mbeidh príomhthosaíocht ag Roinn an Aire Stáit mar gheall ar an straitéis 20 bliain. Dúirt sé go mbeidh an plean foilsithe ag deireadh mhí Feabhra. Tá mí Feabhra imithe. Cá bhfuil an plean sin? Táimid ag fanacht beagán níos mó ná bliain ar an phlean seo. Thosaigh an comhairliúchán le haghaidh an plean seo in 2015. Cá bhfuil sé? Tá an t-am ag sleamhnú thart.

Ní aontaím leis an ráiteas faoin chol ceathrar bocht. Níl an teanga ina col ceathrar bocht. Caithfidh an Teachta bheith ciallmhar maidir leis sin. Níor thug an Teachta aitheantas don ról atá ag an cheangal agus an nasc idir an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta agus an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna. I mí Mheán Fómhair i mbliana, beidh tacaíocht breise ag dul chuig achan bhunscoil sna ceantair Ghaeltachta. Seo an áit a bheidh an teanga ag fás sa tír - istigh sna bunscoileanna.

Níl siad in ann teacht ar mhúinteoirí.

Táimid ag tabhairt tacaíochta agus ní bhfuair muid aon aitheantas fadúda an ról seo. Bhí an tAire, Teachta Richard Bruton, i gcontae an Teachta Tóibín féin cúpla mí ó shin. D'fhógair sé scéim chun tacaíocht a thabhairt do na bunscoileanna.

Sa Ghaeltacht amháin.

Tá róil agus dualgais orainn uilig maidir leis an teanga. Ní bheidh an Roinn amháin freagrach as an Ghaeilge. Tá an ról is mó maidir leis ag an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna. Ní bhfuair mise aon----

Ach níl aon phlean ag an Roinn.

Níor thug an Teachta aon aitheantas don ról ollmhór atá ag an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna maidir leis an teanga faoi choinne na ndaoine óga, na daoine atá ag foghlaim, agus tacaíocht do na tuismitheoirí. Sin an áit ina mbeidh an gealltanas is mó.

D'adhmhaigh an tAire nach bhfuil plean ar bith do cheantair taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht mar gheall ar chúrsaí oideachais. D'admhaigh sé é sin.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (19)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

19. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the way in which the €725 million allocated in the capital plan will be spent on cultural infrastructure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10375/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (5 contributions) (Ceist ar Culture)

The Government recently launched Project Ireland 2040, which is a comprehensive national planning framework and associated ten year national development plan. Project Ireland 2040 explicitly recognises that our culture, language and heritage are an essential part of the sustainable development of the country. It was anticipated that I would launch this element of the plan with An Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh. This launch has been postponed due to the sneachta.

The plan acknowledges the centrality of culture and creativity to our national development. It is unprecedented in this type of statutory planning framework, as is the commitment to investment in excess of €1 billion in our culture and heritage over the next ten years. Of this investment some €725 million will be invested directly in our cultural infrastructure, in our creative industries and in enhancing cultural experience for our citizens.

As outlined in Project Ireland 2040, €460 million will be spent on the national cultural institutions investment programme. Over the ten years of the plan, this will see: the renovation of the National Library of Ireland; significant enhancements at the National Archives of Ireland; investment at a number of sites of the National Museum of Ireland commencing with the Natural History Museum; the renovation of the National Concert Hall and Crawford Art Gallery; the completion of the National Gallery of Ireland master development plan; the redevelopment of the National Theatre and projects at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and at the Chester Beatty Library. These projects will be sequenced and prioritised having regard to the outcome of the evaluation and planning processes in line with the public spending code.

A further €265 million has been made available under the national development plan for a culture and creativity investment programme. This investment programme will be closely aligned with the Creative Ireland programme. Key areas for investment under this programme will be a programme of investments in regional arts and culture facilities to enhance opportunities for communities to participate in Irish cultural life; investment in our creative industries with a particular focus on the audio-visual sector which represents an important economic opportunity for Ireland; a programme for the digitisation of our national collections; and investment in Galway 2020 for its year as an EU Capital of Culture. I look forward to launching this element of the plan.

We look forward to the Minister's announcement on this over the coming days. Project Ireland 2040 states that “the aggregate level of investment in Ireland’s cultural infrastructure over ten years is estimated at €725 million”. This represents a mere 0.625% of the €116 billion plan. It is not clear how much of this money is new and how much is already accounted for in existing spending allocations to projects already in hand. The plan indicates, for example, that €15 million is being spent on the Natural History Museum. This project is described as being in development. Will the Minister indicate if this €15 million was previously announced and allocated? Will the Minister identify how much of the money announced in the plan is new money and not previously announced money?

The breakdown of allocations for culture, heritage and the Irish language over the next five years is as follows: €54 million in 2018, €75 million in 2019, €76 million in 2020, €80 million in 2021 and €110 million in 2022. It is important to say that the infrastructure project steering group, which will be set up shortly by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, will include senior officials from all Departments. This will be a primary vehicle for cross-sectoral dialogue for implementation and will provide essential reports of progress under the plan within the Department. The Deputy referred to value for money. All investments under project 2040 will be subject to rigorous appraisal and evaluation in line with the public spending code. All options will be looked at prior to committing any funding on the project. There will be robust project management throughout the implementation phase and regular reports on expenditure and delivery against clear targets and milestones.

In particular, 2018 will see us focus on the appraisal, planning and design of many of the flagship projects with a view to moving to the delivery phase in the following years.

The national cultural institutions are to undertake a €460 million phased investment programme over ten years, as the Minister has outlined. The plan gives concrete budgets and completion dates for just three of those projects: the Crawford Gallery, the National Library of Ireland and the Natural History Museum. Combined, these projects are to cost €31 million. Rather than giving any detail as to how the remaining €411 million is to be spent on the national cultural institutions we have simply been provided with a list of those institutions. This mirrors the vagueness of the capital investment plan 2016-2021 wherein it was stated “there will also be investment in cultural infrastructure, including the National Cultural Institutions and Regional Arts and Cultural Centres”. Will the Minister outline how exactly she plans on investing in the national cultural institutions?

Many of the projects referred to by the Minister are some of our most important cultural institutions but I urge the Minister to not forget about the regional arts and cultural centres that can be the lifeblood of communities outside the main cities. I hope the focus does not remain on our urban city centres and that the Minister remembers rural Ireland and the more isolated regional arts centres that do phenomenal work in our communities in keeping rural Ireland going.

Deputy Smyth is correct that regional arts must to be to the forefront in the national development plan and in our particular sector investment.

It will be part of the €725 million about which the Deputy asked. That €265 million in effect implements pillar 3 of Creative Ireland in relation to a culture and creativity investment programme. One of the key areas for investment is a programme of investment in regional arts and cultural facilities to enhance opportunities for communities to participate in Irish cultural life. There will also be investment in creative industries with an emphasis on audio-visual and also digitisation of our national collections. For example, the National Archives welcomed about 12,000 visitor during 2015, when there was 1.4 million hits online. It is necessary that we bring services up to the 21st century and we will do that. The list will be added to once we have got past the appraisal, planning and design phase to implementation phase over the next five years. Understandably, what most of the cultural institutions will be doing now is setting out master plans as to how they will use the money in the future. The main ones we will start with are the National Archives of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, the National History Museum, the renovation of the National Concert Hall, the Crawford Gallery, the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Theatre and projects with the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Chester Beattie Library.

Heritage Sites

Ceisteanna (20)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

20. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to acquire a site (details supplied) in view of its cultural and historic importance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10193/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (8 contributions) (Ceist ar Culture)

I thank the office of the Ceann Comhairle for what it described as the procedural fluidity for allowing me to take Deputy Gino Kenny's question this morning.

The Luggala House and estate are a jewel in a truly breath-taking location in the spectacular setting of the Wicklow mountains. The thought that this location, which should be enjoyed by walkers, tourists, locals and others, might be bought by some international property investor sends shivers down my spine. My stomach curdled at the thought that Denis O'Brien had expressed an interest in it. It should be something that is available to everybody. The question of whether the State will acquire this estate in order to ensure its availability to the public has been raised several times.

I am aware that this site, comprising a historic house and estate of some 5,000 acres, has been offered for sale, with a reported asking price in the region of €28 million.

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has no direct role in this sales process as it is a commercial matter between the owners of the property in question and the parties interested in the purchase.

Through the National Parks and Wildlife Service, NPWS, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht manages a property portfolio in respect of national parks and reserves of approximately 87,000 hectares. These important biodiversity areas are located all around the country. Given the limited resources available for capital investment within the national parks and nature reserves, I recognise the need to focus on the core responsibilities relating to the management of the existing parks and reserves' lands. The estate at Luggala would be a significant addition to our stock of publicly owned heritage properties and lands. It provides a central connection between disparate parts of our Wicklow mountains' national park.

My Department could only consider acquiring this property if the price fell to within a certain range, or in the context of a donation or bequest. This is known to the vendors. In this context, I also remind the House that in late 2016 my Department negotiated the extension of Wicklow mountains national park by purchasing almost 4,900 acres of Dublin uplands at Glenasmole in 2016 at a cost of just €800,000.

Wicklow mountains national park and Glendalough are amongst our most beloved and popular heritage jewels. The Luggala Estate has allowed a permissive access to a hugely popular walking route down to Lough Dan for many decades and I hope this would continue under any new ownership arrangements. Furthermore, the estate has been an excellent neighbour to the national park, working closely with it on habitat management and the promotion of our stunning Wicklow mountains for tourism, film-making and amenity. It is my wish that this close co-operation would continue too in future.

Hoping is not the same as achieving. The idea that this beautiful walk which people currently are able to enjoy because Garech Browne of the Guinness family has allowed the public access to Lough Dan through the estate could be ended if some property investor or private interest takes the estate over and no longer allows access. That is why we want more than expressions of concern or hope. We think the Government should actively acquire the estate. Given that the Minister says the Government is willing to consider acquiring the estate if the price is right, what direct negotiations has the State initiated with the vendors to see if we can acquire it? The answer which the Minister just gave is exactly the same as we heard from the previous Minister of State when this question was raised last summer. Has there been any progress?

There were discussions, which for reasons of confidentiality the details of which I am not allowed to give the House. We are open to further discussions on this. As I said, there is a permissive right of way in the estate. The price has to be right. The door is open for negotiations in the future. As well as the location, the estate is of architectural and cultural significance. The estate is in the target area of where acquisition could be considered but it also falls within the core of the parks target area and encompasses some of the most iconic views of Wicklow outside Glendalough. It would not have the same strategic significance to the national parks and wildlife service. We did acquire lands in 2006 which were in close proximity but these were two unconnected pieces of land. There are scarce resources in our Department and we are mindful of the need to focus on core responsibilities. We could consider acquiring this property if it fell within a certain price range. The vendors are aware of discussions which have taken place. There may be further discussions in the future. It is up to the vendors to discuss it again with the Department.

A very passive approach is being taken here. We should be setting out with determination to acquire this estate. The Minister says it is not strategically important or a priority. I do not understand that. Has the Minister ever been up there? It is absolutely spectacular. Currently we can just walk past the estate to Lough Dan. If we had access to the full estate, the investment that the State would put in in its purchase would be repaid many times over in future years. Anybody going to Wicklow or considering travelling through that landscape would want to go down to Luggala. It would easily pay for itself over the medium to long term. There has been all this fanfare over Project Ireland 2040 and the investment in our cultural infrastructure but, God almighty, one could not get a more important piece of cultural, architectural or natural heritage infrastructure than the Luggala Estate which is important for its oak trees, deer, architecture and landscape. It is absolutely spectacular and would be a tragedy if some property developer or private interest got hold of the estate.

I do not know if the Deputy heard my response.

What I said was there have been previous discussions in relation to this estate but that there are obvious financial constraints. Unless the property is in a price range that is acceptable to the Department, it will not be in a position to purchase it. We are leaving the door open in terms of further negotiations and hopefully we will be in a position to proceed. I agree that the estate is of high scenic value and the combination of the mountains, the lake and the woodland are particularly attractive. Its wild aspect so close to a major city also adds to its significance. It is an important example of a hunting and fishing lodge where the emphasis was more on short term accommodation rather than formal reception rooms. It is a particularly striking house for its 20th century cultural connections which are both tangible and intangible. Many noted artists, writers and musicians have stayed as guests and have contributed to a wealth of high quality artifacts. These collectively give the property a quality that would be considerably lessened without them. I accept all those facts.

At the same time, we have to allow reasonability in terms of spending taxpayers' money. We are open to discussions if the Deputy wants to consider it further.

Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge

Ceisteanna (21)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

21. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Catherine Connolly den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cathain go díreach a fhoilseofar an plean gníomhaíochta maidir le feidhmiú na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge don tréimhse 2018-2022; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh.. [10210/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (6 contributions) (Ceist ar Culture)

Tá ceist dhíreach, shimplí agam. Cén dáta a fhoilseofar an plean gníomhaíochta maidir le feidhmiú na straitéise, straitéise 20 bliain don Ghaeilge, don tréimhse 2018-22?

Dírím aird an Teachta ar na freagraí atá tugtha agam ar Cheisteanna Dála eile faoin ábhar seo cheana féin. Mar atá ráite agam roimhe seo, ós rud é go bhfuil freagracht thras-Rannach i gceist maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise 20 bliain don Ghaeilge, ba ghá go leor plé a dhéanamh le Ranna Stáit agus páirtithe leasmhara eile maidir le hullmhú an Phlean Gníomhaíochta.

Mar atá mínithe agam go minic roimhe seo chomh maith, is é nádúr na hoibre seo go dtógann sé am chun nithe a aontú le páirtithe leasmhara éagsúla a bheidh freagrach i ndeireadh báire as pé beart a aontaítear a fheidhmiú agus mar go bhfuil sé mar chuspóir a chinntiú, oiread agus is féidir, go mbeidh fiúntas leis an gclár bearta a bheidh sa phlean críochnúil.

Tá an obair sin ag teacht chun críche anois agus, dá réir, tá bailchríoch á cur ag mo Roinnse faoi láthair ar an bplean a ndéanfar a fhoilsiú sna seachtainí amach romhainn.

Ní call a rá ar ndóigh go bhfuil cláir oibre á gcur i bhfeidhm ag mo Roinn féin agus ag Ranna agus forais ábhartha eile stáit, chomh maith le raon leathan eagraíochtaí Gaeilge chun cúram a dhéanamh, i gcaitheamh an ama, ar fheidhmiú na Straitéise.

Go raibh maith agat. Tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil sé éasca agus go bhfuil obair thras-rannach i gceist. Ach is í seo Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. Foilsíodh an straitéis in 2010. Bhí sé bunaithe ar a lán oibre roimhe sin, mar shampla an Ráiteas Gaeilge ó 2006. Tá fhios againn go bhfuil gá práinneach le plean gníomhaíochta. Tá sé thar am é a fhoilsiú agus an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn. Tá sé de phribhléid agam a bheith i mo Chathaoirleach ar an gcoiste Gaeilge agus tá a fhios againn ó na cruinnithe in aghaidh na coicíse chomh leochaileach is atá an Ghaeilge agus an phráinn atá ag teastáil maidir le plean gníomhaíochta. An mbeidh sé foilsithe roimh dheireadh na míosa, nó an foilseofar é i mí Aibreáin? Cathain a foilseofar é?

Aontaím le tuairim an Teachta. Is é sin an fáth a chur mé an bealach seo chun cinn in 2015. Bhí mé ag labhairt faoin straitéise 20 bliain don Ghaeilge, agus níos leithne ag an am, agus mise an duine, mar Aire Stáit, a thosaigh an aistear maidir leis sin. Táimid ag fanacht chun an cheist a bheith freagartha. Tá mé thar a bheith muiníneach agus dóchasach go mbeidh muid in ann é a fhoilsiú taobh istigh de choicís nó thrí seachtaine.

Is dea-scéal é sin. Gabhaim buíochas as sin. Táimid ag tnúth leis é a fheiceáil agus é a léamh. Ach táimid go léir imníoch ar son na Gaeilge. Mar is eol don Aire, tá Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge ann, agus tá dualgais faoi leith ar an Rialtas agus ar Ranna éagsúla. Le déanaí chualamar nuacht ó RTÉ go raibh sé ar intinn acu “Nuacht” a réamhthaifeadadh roimh an am. Luaim an méid sin mar shampla den easpa tuisceana atá le feiceáil i RTÉ maidir leis na freagrachtaí atá orthu. Chomh maith leis sin tá a fhios againn ar leibhéal eile nach bhfuil na scéimeanna teanga ag feidhmiú ar chur ar bith agus dúirt an Coimisinéir Teanga an méid sin go soiléir. Is iad seo cuid de na rudaí atá luaite sa straitéis. Mar sin, tá gá le hathbhreithniú agus le plean gníomhaíochta a bheith ann go práinneach.

Maidir leis na moltaí, aontaím leis an dualgas atá orainn uilig agus atá ag achan Roinn. Tá dualgais mhóra ag an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna. Táimid ag siúl go mór leis na moltaí a fháil ón Roinn sin maidir leis an bplean gníomhaíochta. Maidir le RTÉ, beidh dualgais ar an Roinn Cumarsáide, Gníomhaithe ar son na hAeráide agus Comhshaoil. Dá mbeadh aon fhadhb nó aon imní ar an Teachta san am atá romhainn, tá mé ar a taobh agus ar son na teanga agus tá cuidiú ar fáil anseo maidir le haon bhealach atá de dhíth.