Irish Language Policy Unit and North South Cooperation
Irish Language Policy Unit and North South Cooperation – Functions and Services
- Developing policy and implementing various schemes and measures aimed at strengthening the Irish language nationally and internationally and supporting the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language.
- Responsibility for the Official Languages Act, including the agreement of language schemes with public bodies and related matters and supporting the work of An Coimisinéir Teanga.
- Overseeing developments in regard to the Irish language in the EU and internationally.
- Devising and implementing appropriate arrangements for the provision of Irish language training and accreditation for the Civil Service.
- Researching and providing authoritative Irish language forms of the placenames of Ireland and providing administrative support to the Placenames Committee.
- Promoting North South Cooperation by co-sponsoring the two North South Implementation Bodies, Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga, in cooperation with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC).
- Ensuring that North-South co-operation is enhanced across the full range of departmental activities and liaising with other relevant stakeholders.
Irish Language Policy Unit and North South Cooperation – Accessing our Services
Services are provided directly to the public primarily through the Irish Language Support Schemes and by responding to queries in relation to placenames. The other functions of the unit mainly involve liaison with other public bodies.
The Placenames Branch
The core role of the Placenames Branch is to research the placenames of Ireland and provide authoritative Irish Language forms of those placenames. In addition, the Branch provides administrative support to the Placenames Committee and it responds to queries about placenames from the general public.
North South Cooperation
This division co-funds and supports the work of Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga and engages actively with these bodies and with other stakeholders including the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the north, the NSMC and various Government departments and agencies.
Waterways Ireland (www.waterwaysireland.org) manages, maintains, develops and promotes over 1000km of inland navigable waterways principally for recreational purposes. The waterways under the remit of the body are the Barrow Navigation, the Erne System, the Grand Canal, the Lower Bann, the Royal Canal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Shannon Navigation.
An Foras Teanga comprises two separate agencies:
- Foras na Gaeilge,(forasnagaeilge.ie) successor to Bord na Gaeilge, with the principal responsibility of promoting the Irish language in every aspect of everyday life throughout the island of Ireland, and
- The Ulster-Scots Agency (ulsterscotsagency.com), with the principal responsibility of promoting the Ulster-Scots language and culture, both within Northern Ireland and throughout the island of Ireland.
While the division is responsible for policy and funding issues, responsibility for the day-to-day operational matters rests with the individual agencies. No services or schemes are delivered directly to the public.
Full contact details for the Unit can be found at http://www.ahg.gov.ie/about/contact/
Irish Language Policy Unit and North South Cooperation – Classes of Records Held
- Records relating to policy matters;
- Records relating to operational matters (applications, minutes, correspondence, briefing notes etc.) in relation to the functions described above; and
- Records relating to internal administration of the Division.
- Administration files – records of correspondence relating to day to day issues; and
- Legislation files – records relating to the drafting of primary and secondary legislation.
Irish Language Policy Unit and North South Cooperation – Grant or Funding Schemes
Purpose of the scheme:
The objective of this programme of funding is to provide financial assistance to a range of organisations and activities that support the promotion of the Irish language nationally (outside the Gaeltacht) and internationally. Organisations that receive annual funding include Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Gaillimh le Gaeilge, Gnó Mhaigh Eo and Gael Taca in Co. Cork. Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeilge also fund initiatives that assist public bodies in implementing the Official Languages Act and that support the status of Irish as an official and working language of the European Union. These initiatives include, for example, the Advanced Irish Language Skills Initiative in third level institutions in Ireland, the development by Fiontar, Dublin City University, of a database of EU terminology in the Irish language and the teaching of Irish in various foreign universities. The schemes also support the establishment of Irish language technology groups (TechSpace as Gaeilge) in youth club and secondary school settings.
With regard to capital projects, funding is provided to facilitate the development of Irish language social and cultural centres in urban areas.
Who is eligible to apply?
Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeilge is open to organisations promoting the Irish Language outside the Gaeltacht.There is no cost for applications.
How to apply for funding under the scheme:
Organisations are asked to complete an application and to supply a business plan that sets out the background, rationale and aims of their project. Further information is available on the Department’s website at the following link:
The general eligibility criteria for Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeilge are outlined below. Organisations approved for funding are expected to have a proven track record in promoting the Irish language.
Criteria for current expenditure:
Projects are evaluated in accordance with the following criteria:
- the viability of the project in terms of supporting the development and use of the Irish language in an effective and efficient manner;
- whether the project helps to underpin the status of Irish as an EU official and working language by increasing the number of qualified persons with Irish language skills and/or assisting the work of the EU institutions in that regard, including translation of EU terminology into Irish;
- as regards the TechSpace as Gaeilge Scheme, the requirement that applicants must have undertaken a prescribed training course; and
- value for money.
The criteria used in assessing applications for funding in relation to the teaching of Irish in third-level institutions overseas include:
- the institution’s experience in providing Irish language courses and in promoting Irish generally;
- the quality of the business plan;
- the extent of co-funding available from the institution and/or other sources;
- accreditation of the courses; and
- value for money.
Criteria for capital expenditure:
Capital projects are evaluated in accordance with the following criteria:
- the necessity of the proposed works;
- the proposed use of the premises in terms of supporting the development of the Irish language within the community or area in question, e.g. crèche, preschool, Irish language classes, social activities, etc.;
- the level of co-funding available from the local community and/or other sources; and
- value for money.
The criteria governing variations in grant levels:
- The level of benefit to the promotion of the Irish language both at home and abroad.
The relevant appeals procedures and how these are accessed:
Applicants who are not satisfied with decisions made in relation to their applications may appeal in writing to the Secretary General, The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. A review will be carried out as expeditiously as possible.
 Under proposed restructuring of Government Departments in Northern Ireland, Waterways Ireland will come under the remit of the Department of Infrastructure and An Foras Teanga will come under the remit of the Department of Communities.