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Gaeltacht Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 June 2022

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Ceisteanna (13)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

13. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if her Department is taking steps to ensure the survival and growth of Gaeltacht regions and the preservation of the Irish language within these regions. [32078/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Tourism)

As the Deputy is aware, The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 and the accompanying Action Plan for the Irish Language (Plean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022) represent Government policy in relation to the Irish language and Gaeltacht regions. 

My Department is responsible inter alia, for coordinating its implementation which has cross-departmental ownership. Accordingly, responsibility for implementation falls on a number of Government Departments, bodies and Irish language and Gaeltacht organisations. 

The Action Plan and the two annual progress reports published to date, present a clear overview of the 180 or so actions being advanced by circa 60 stakeholders in support of the language and Gaeltacht regions. Undoubtedly, functioning in the shadow of the pandemic over the last two years has proved challenging and this is no less the case in terms of delivery of supports in the domain of Irish language and Gaeltacht affairs.

In terms of financial supports for the language insofar as my Department is concerned, an additional exchequer allocation of €7m for language programmes plus €4.2m extra for Irish language broadcasting was included in Budget 2022, further enabling support for the language and Gaeltacht regions  - particularly in the context of the ongoing implementation of the language planning process and the Policy on Gaeltacht Education, being spearheaded by the Department of Education. 

This additional allocation ultimately means that total funding of over €85m is being deployed by my Department in support of the Irish language and Gaeltacht regions in the current year. 

A budget allocation of €5.8m is being made available in 2022 to support the Language Planning Process.  This will enable my Department to fund both Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge who are tasked under the Gaeltacht Act 2012 with supporting the process.  It will also enable my Department to support, at a central level, organisations which operate in the domains of early years; family; and the traditional arts sectors as an additional support to the language planning process.  

As of April 2022, language plans in respect of all of the 26 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas have now been approved.

To date, language plans for five Gaeltacht Service Towns have been approved, namely, Leitir Ceanainn, Daingean Uí Chúis, Cathair na Gaillimhe, An Clochán Liath and Trá Lí. Plans for Castlebar and Dungarvan are currently being examined by the Department while the preparation of plans is being advanced in the case of Cahersiveen and Cork City. Preparatory work is also in hand in the case of Clifden, Co. Galway and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo.

3 Irish Language Networks have been approved under the process - Ennis, Loughrea and Clondalkin - as well as two others in the north - Carn Tóchar and Iarthar Bhéal Feirste - which have been approved by Foras na Gaeilge under a non-statutory process being overseen by the organisation. 

26 Language Planning Officers (20 in Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, 4 in Gaeltacht Service Towns and 2 in Irish Language Networks) and 4 Assistant Language Planning Officers are currently engaged in implementing approved plans.

Finally, as the Deputy may be aware, the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 has recently been signed into law.  The primary purpose of the Act is to amend the Official Languages Act 2003 with a view to increasing and improving the provision of public services through the Irish language. The systematic implementation of the Act will serve to further indirectly benefit the language in Gaeltacht regions.

I am confident that these key measures will continue to support and develop greater use of the Irish language both within Gaeltacht regions and nationally.

Question No. 14 answered orally.
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