07/04/17

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Seán Kyne T.D., announces that Irish Language Officers will be employed to help with the implementation of language plans under the language planning process in the Gaeltacht

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Seán Kyne T.D., announced today, 7th April 2017, that there are plans to employ Irish Language Officers at local level in the Gaeltacht to assist with the implementation of language plans agreed under the language planning process. He announced that the language planning allocation of €850,000 which he announced yesterday would be used as funding.

As announced yesterday, €735,000 will be allocated to Údarás na Gaeltachta and €115,000 to Foras na Gaeilge to enable them to advance the language planning process as it relates to each of them.

In relation to Údarás na Gaeltachta: As the implementation of language plans may be commenced this year in up to 13 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, the funds provided to Údarás – which have been increased from €400,000 in 2016 – will be used to enable each area to employ an Irish Language Officer to deal with the implementation of its language plan – depending on the requirements of the case, after the plan has been agreed by the Minister of State in accordance with the Gaeltacht Act.

An allocation of up to €100,000 over a period of 12 months may be approved in respect of each individual language planning area in which the implementation of an agreed language plan will begin during the current year.  This allocation will comprise the appointee’s salary as well as funding to commence the implementation of the respective plans.  The Irish Language Officers’ salary will be based on an Executive Officer’s salary scale.

The funds being provided to Údarás na Gaeltachta will also be used to ensure that the process will commence before the end of the year in the following three Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas: Bearna and Knocknacarragh; Galway City East; and an tEachréidh.

Attending the announcement in Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh, Conamara, of the details of a series of public meetings as a first step in the process as it relates to those areas, Minister of State Kyne said that the meetings would be arranged by Údarás, in conjunction with the Department, for the communities of each area. The public meetings will be arranged for the 24th April for Galway City East; 25th April for An tEachréidh and 27th April for Bearna and Knocknacarragh. (There are further details below on the location of the public meetings).

In addition, Údarás na Gaeltachta will use the allocation to advance the process as it relates to the preparation of language plans in the following Gaeltacht Service Towns: Daingean Uí Chúis, Béal an Mhuirthead and An Clochán Liath during the current year.

In relation to Foras na Gaeilge: the funding provided by the Department will be used to advance the language plan preparation process this year in Galway City, Cork City, Letterkenny, Tralee and Dungarvan. The funds will also be used to prepare plans for the following Irish-language Networks: Clondalkin; Ennis, Co. Clare and Loughrea, Co. Galway.

Minister of State Kyne said: “Since the language planning process, a central part of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, began three years ago it has been focussed on the preparation of plans. Commencing the implementation of language plans in up to 13 individual Gaeltacht areas this year is a big step forward toward implementing the process and accordingly, implementing the strategy. This means that the Gaeltacht community will play a bigger part than ever before to tackle the challenges facing the Irish language at local level and they will have more support than ever under this process to achieve that goal.

As a result of the investment announced today, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge will both be in a position to continue helping various Irish-language communities recognised under the Gaeltacht Act to prepare and implement their plans according to locally identified needs. The appointment of Irish Language Officers locally in Gaeltacht areas to support the implementation of agreed plans under the Act will not only help the application of the process for the benefit of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht, but also provide employment opportunities in the Irish-language and language planning sectors.”

The Minister of State said that in light of the census results in relation to the Irish language published yesterday, it is clear that Irish faces the same constant challenges as those faced by minority languages around the world. “We must further strengthen our efforts – as state bodies, Irish-language organisations and the wider community, to overcome these challenges. Success will best be achieved if each stakeholder engages enthusiastically with the chance to do their bit for the Irish language as part of the implementation of the strategy, to which the language planning process and Gaeltacht education policy are central.”

Ends

Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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