Allowance of €810,000 over three years announced by Minister of State McHugh for the Irish Language early education sector in the Gaeltacht

The Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh T.D., today announced a measure of increased supports  directed at strengthening the Irish Language early education sector in the Gaeltacht. This extra allowance is being sanctioned as an extra support for the implementation of both the language planning process and the policy on Gaeltacht education, which is central to the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

Increased investment for Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta

He has announced that he has sanctioned an allowance of €810,000 over the period from 2018 to 2020 (€270,000 per annum) for the organisation Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta (CNNG). The allowance will enable the organisation to extend the range of supports made available to early-years services in the Gaeltacht. CNNG will use the allowance in year one to:

  • employ a further two assistant officers;
  • bring 8 Gaeltacht early-years services under the remit of CNNG;
  • provide appropriate supports for up to 20 services that currently operate through English in the Gaeltacht in order to promote the use of Irish in those services.

As a result of this extra funding, CNNG will be able to accomplish even more for the benefit of Irish Language early-education in the Gaeltacht.

The extra three-year allowance of €810,000 has been sanctioned in addition to the annual support of €535,000 provided by Údarás na Gaeltachta to Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeilge.   As part of the annual allowance of €270,000 that has been sanctioned, funding is being given for the administration ofThe Preschool and After-School Services Scheme, which was established in 2014 and the responsibility for the administration of which is being transferred from the Department to CNNG under Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Extra capital assistance for the Gaeltacht early education sector

In parallel with the current extra support now being provided by the Department to the early-years sector, the Minister of State also announced that the maximum level of assistance available under the Department’s Community and Language Supports Programme in respect of facilities in the Irish Language early education sector in the Gaeltacht will be increased from 80% to 95%. This arrangement will come into operation immediately.

This additional assistance will support the further strengthening of the provision early-years education in Gaeltacht areas and accordingly, the commitment given in the Policy for Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022 regarding the provision of funding and extra resources for existing naíonraí, new naíonraí and other early education sites.

The Minister of State said: “With the announcement of these extra supports, a great step forward has been taken which will be of benefit to young families in the Gaeltacht who are raising or who would like to raise their children speaking Irish. As a result of the increased funding being made available to Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta and the extra capital assistance that my Department will be able to provide to the Irish Language early education sector in the Gaeltacht, we will be able to further assist the sector and ultimately, the young families of the Gaeltacht to advance the Irish Language. As a result of this, the successful implementation of the language planning process, which is now gathering momentum all over the Gaeltacht, will be greatly enhanced”

The Minister of State also said that it is intended to announce a further specific measure shortly in conjunction with his Government colleague and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone, in the context of the Government’s Action Plan 2018-2022 for the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030  –  which will be published shortly.

These measures are directed at the following action areas of the 20 Year Strategy: The Gaeltacht; Education; Family Transmission of the Language – Early Intervention.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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