07/12/2011 Minister of State in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht welcomes the allocation for Irish, the Gaeltacht and the Islands in 2012.
Dinny Mc Ginley T.D., Minister of State in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, today (7th December 2011) welcomed the proposed allocation to the Department for 2012 for Irish, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.
The Minister of State said: “The Government’s commitment to Irish, the Gaeltacht and the Islands is clear in the Programme for Government. This commitment is also evident in the proposed allocation to my Department, subject to the publication and approval of the Estimates. As a result of the proposed allocation for 2012, my Department will be in a position to give priority to the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language.”
The Minister of State announced that the Department has more than €60m to spend in 2012 on Irish, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, including The North/South Language Body, from a total allowance of €266.997m for the Department. An allocation of more than €46m is proposed under the Programme for Irish, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, which includes more than €37m for current expenditure and almost €9m for capital expenditure. In addition, the Department proposes to allocate more than €15.4m to the North/South Language Body under the North/South Programme which is to be approved by the North/South Ministerial Council.
Regarding the Department’s current expenditure on the Gaeltacht the Minister of State said: “I am pleased to announce that there will be no cuts made in 2012 to the grant which is paid to households under Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge, although changes to other aspects of the scheme will be announced once the Department has discussed the various options with CONCOS, the umbrella organisation for the Irish colleges.”
In relation to the Department’s capital expenditure in the Gaeltacht, the Minister of State said: “My Department will concentrate on providing support for building and rationalising community-based and language-focussed centres in order to assist the implementation of the Strategy on the ground. As my Department did not have the necessary resources to provide funding to the water, sewerage, marine and road works group schemes over the last few years, I have decided, for the sake of clarity, to suspend them. Of course, these schemes may be renewed in the future if the economic climate improves.”
In relation to the Department’s Support Schemes for the Irish Language, which function outside the Gaeltacht, the Minister of State said: “This provision means that my Department will also be in a position to build a solid foundation for the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language outside the Gaeltacht.”
The Minister of State added that he believes that sufficient provision has been made to Údarás na Gaeltachta, the North/South Language Body, including Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency, and to the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga to facilitate them in carrying out their statutory functions in 2012.
Regarding the islands, the Minister of State said that the current increased provision for 2012 will ensure that the Department can continue to fund the essential transport services to the islands which have permanent inhabitants.