A New Era for early years services in the Gaeltacht
- First initiatives to benefit from extra funding for early years services through Irish in the Gaeltacht
- A permanent early years centre to be built onsite at Bunscoil na bhForbacha
- Support for Cois Fharraige Language Planning Process
Government Chief-Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne T.D. has announced that he has approved a capital grant of up to €425,000 for two early years initiatives in the Cois Fharraige area to underpin both the language planning process and the policy on Gaeltacht education.
Under the specific grants he has approved under the Department’s Community and Language Supports Programme a grant of €198,000 will be provided to the committee of Naíonra na bhForbacha in order to build a new nursery on the existing site next to Scoil Náisiúnta na bhForbacha.
He has also approved a grant of up to €230,000 for Ionad Tacaíochta Teaghlaigh in Indreabhán to allow the clearance of debts relating to the development of the centre at an Cnoc, Indreabhán.
The Minister of State said: “In 2018, for the purposes of providing improved support to the early years provision through the medium of Irish in Gaeltacht areas, my department increased the maximum level of capital funding being provided to early years projects from 80% to 95% in accordance with action 3.12 of the Action Plan 2018-2022. These are the first two initiatives to benefit from this action. I have no doubt that the approved grants equate to further practical steps being taken in the interest of the Irish language in the area. I greatly look forward to the implementation without further delay of the language plan for Cois Fharraige, which has been approved for some time now by my Department under the language planning process. The sooner this happens the sooner the local community will benefit from the yearly allowance of €150,000 which has been approved for the area under the process and the sooner it will be possible to make further progress which will be of benefit to the overall area”
This follows on from the action which was announced in 2018 whereby the Minister of State approved a current 3-year allowance of €1.62m to Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta so that it can further develop the service it provides in the early years sector in the Gaeltacht.
A spokesperson from Coiste Teaghlaigh Naíonra na bhForbacha said that the allowance would be a great help towards promoting the Policy on Gaeltacht Education. “Providing immersion education through Irish to infants sets down a strong linguistic foundation for the children which will aid in strengthening and cementing an Irish Language community in Na Forbacha in the years ahead. As a result of the practical advice received from the Department the preschool committee will be able to provide a suitable early years centre beside the new school here in Na Forbacha, which will be of benefit to the local community and ultimately the Irish Language.
Séan Breathanach, principal at Scoil na bhForbacha also welcomed the announcement, saying “I am very pleased to hear that Naíonra na bhForbacha will soon be constructing a new centre at the heart of the community. It is a positive result of the work that has been done in the area over the years in order to provide early years services through Irish for parents who wish to raise their children in this Gaeltacht area. This phase is recognition of the support that the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Education and Skills and the Diocese of Galway are willing to provide in order for this to happen. Today is an important day for this community.”