Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Ceisteanna (47)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

47. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the actions she will take following the publication of a report (details supplied). [1768/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

At the outset I wish to welcome the publication of the report referred to by the Deputy. The report, which highlights some of the challenges and opportunities facing the Gaeltacht areas, adds to the significant regional and rural knowledge base Údarás na Gaeltachta possesses and is a welcome addition to our collective knowledge of the ongoing challenges facing peripheral regions.

The challenges of rural depopulation, disadvantaged areas, ageing population and broadband infrastructure are not unique to Gaeltacht areas and are being addressed on an ongoing basis by way of inter-departmental strategies such as the Action Plans for Jobs, the Action Plan for Rural Development, Harnessing our Ocean Wealth and the Rural Regeneration & Development Scheme.

Gaeltacht areas are unique, however, in being the natural domain of spoken Irish and it is a stated cross-party objective to maintain and support the development of these areas as embodied in the Government's 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030.

Údarás na Gaeltachta is responsible for supporting the economic, cultural and social development of the Gaeltacht and the organisation believes that it has the appropriate business model and strategy in place to address the various challenges outlined in the report.

In support of the Údarás, the Deputy may be aware that I recently announced that additional capital funding has been allocated to Údarás na Gaeltachta in 2019. In addition to this, a sum of €0.7m unspent by my Department in 2018 has been allocated to An tÚdarás’ capital budget, thus providing An tÚdarás with a total capital budget of €9.7m to be spent in support of employment and enterprise in 2019. This represents a significant increase from a Revised Estimates total of €7m in 2018.

Taking into account the €2.8m in funding allocated recently to An tÚdarás under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, as well as the €2m in funding for Páirc na Mara in Cill Chiaráin allocated to An tÚdarás under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, Exchequer funding of €14.5m is being made available to the organisation in 2019. This figure represents more than double the amount allocated to the organisation in the 2018 Revised Estimates.

I am confident, in light of all of this, that both my Department and Údarás na Gaeltachta are in a strengthened position and can now accelerate the implementation of both existing programmes, schemes and initiatives in addition to developing new measures as emerging opportunities arise.

Question No. 48 answered with Question No. 44.