07/02/12 Minister of State McGinley welcomes the Government’s decision regarding the Gaeltacht Bill
Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Dinny McGinley T.D., welcomes the decision taken by Government today (7/2/12) that the Gaeltacht Bill 2012 should be drafted as a matter of priority. The Bill has two primary objectives, namely, to provide for a new definition for the Gaeltacht and to make amendments to the role and functions of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
“I am delighted that the Government has taken this decision today as it means that we will now be able to prioritise the drafting of the Gaeltacht Bill,” said Minister of State McGinley. “This is important legislation which will enable my Department to take the appropriate steps to begin the language planning process in the Gaeltacht and to give statutory effect to Údarás na Gaeltachta to implement the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language in the Gaeltacht.
Under the legislation, it is proposed that the Gaeltacht will in future be based on linguistic criteria instead of on geographic areas which has been the position to date. Language planning at community level will be central to the new definition of the Gaeltacht. Areas outside the traditional Gaeltacht areas may be recognised as Gaeltacht areas, subject to fulfilling particular criteria.
In addition to amendments to Údarás na Gaeltachta’s functions, the Bill will give statutory effect to the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language by Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Gaeltacht. It will also provide for a significant reduction in the number of members on the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta and it will dispense with the requirement for elections to the board.