Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (370)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

370. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht if the imbalance in funding for the Irish language will start to be reversed in budget 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27122/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Media)

As the Deputy will be aware, it is through the annual budgetary and estimates process that Exchequer funding is allocated to my Department and indeed to all Government Departments and agencies. In this context, the Deputy will understand the 2021 allocation for Irish Language and Gaeltacht organisations, including Údarás na Gaeltachta, is currently being considered as part of this process.

My Department continues to increase funding to support the Irish Language as resources allow. The Revised Estimates Volumes for the Public Service, published earlier this year by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, outlines total funding of €58m for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands included in Programme C of my Department's Vote for 2020. This significant exchequer allocation represents an increase on the €55.5m allocation in 2019.

Since then, in light of the impact of Covid-19 on our society and economy, the Government has provided additional funding and supports to the Department and the Irish language and Gaeltacht sector, through targeted national and sectoral measures.

For example, the July Jobs Stimulus package includes a significant additional capital allocation of €8m for Údarás na Gaeltachta in order to enable it to undertake essential upgrades to existing building stock and water treatment facilities, thereby facilitating the marketing of currently dormant factory spaces for modern job-creation projects.

This will create 40-50 new construction jobs across Gaeltacht communities in the short-term while the re-developed building stock will support the longer-term creation of 320 new jobs in the Gaeltacht, in Údarás na Gaeltachta client-companies.

Coupled with the additional funding of €250,000 being provided to Ealaín na Gaeltachta in support of the traditional arts in school settings and the overarching language planning process in Gaeltacht regions, this specific additional investment will further assist in underpinning the language in Gaeltacht regions.

The Programme for Government acknowledges the importance of the Irish language as the first language of the State, as a living language and as a vital component of the heritage of this island, and I will be underlining this commitment in all discussions in relation to policy and funding to support the Irish language.